After the bridge of legend comes a beautiful little town. A pilgrim refuge since the early Camino, hence the name Hospital (hostel today) it is a great place to stay. The Albergue San Miguel is one of my favourites.
Canuck? Where from?
The Sycamores are part of the French culture and history. Every village entry and exit is lined with these trees, and being planted close to the road, they have their lower half painted in white so that they are visible to the traffic. If I recall correctly, they were imported from Turkey. They also call it ''platane à feuille d'érable'', hence your mistaking it for a maple tree.
As you pointed out, they are also very popular in Spain and the Spaniards have made a species of their own, on account that the patern of the main limbs resembled the holy cross.
Personally, I like them for their ornemental value and the ''artistic'' layout of the bark.
After Hospital del Orbigo you can take the left fork and continue with the mindless walk along the roadside or the right fork and walk through a beautiful woods and lush farmer's fields. You can sense my bias as the route continues towards Astorga.