Thursday, June 30, 2016
Villavante to Hospital de Orbigp
From Villavante, the walk into Hospital de Orbigo was only three kilometers or so. Once we checked into the hotel, we rested, and I read and worked on the blog. James’s foot has not improved at all. At dinner, we chatted with a German couple from Frankfurt. I had met the gentleman previously, after the Pilgrims’ Blessing in León.
Hospital de Orbigo is the site of a famous historical feat of arms. In the Middle Ages, knights from all across Europe came to Spain to protect pilgrims from raids by Moors and attacks by brigands. It seems that one Spanish knight, Suero de Quinones, became annoyed by other knights boasting that they were the bravest, or the strongest, or the best fighter along the Camino. He therefore challenged all comers “to put up or shut up” by meeting him in single combat at the bridge in Hospital de Orbigo.
Come they did, and Suero began jousting against them. After a while, nine other Spanish knights joined him, and they too took on all challengers. It seems that Suero was an outstanding fighter, and he won all of his jousts. Chroniclers of the time reported that as many as 700 jousts occurred over a period of thirty days.
The Church finally stopped the jousting after one knight was accidentally killed (by his own lance when it broke). After that, at least during Suero’s lifetime, there was no more boasting by other knights along Suero’s stretch of the Camino.
From the balcony of our hotel, we overlooked the modern jousting field. Each year thousands pour into Hospital de Orbigo on June 1st to see a series of jousts held on the field pictured above to commemorate Suero’s feats of bravery. Suero was also madly in love with a lady, and wore an iron collar once a week to prove his love. What a knight!
I was torn about whether to post the jousting field or a good photo of the Roman bridge, but since I have already posted the Roman bridge at Puente La Reina and since the story of Suero de Quinones is so unique, I went with the jousting field. You can see the Roman bridge on the left side of the photo above.
Steps Today: 11,367
For other photos, see the page for June 30:
June 30, 2016: Villavante to Hospital de Orbigo