WOW! I thought Burgos was the jewel of the camino but I was wrong. Leon is an amazing city and feel a bit like Barcelona.
We walked yesterday all morning and stopped for lunch and then walked a bit more heading towards Mansilla de las Mulas. But we had a plan. Most people who walk the camino follow the guide book written by John Brierly; it is apparently THE guide to have.
Well Brierly says that the walk into Leon is dull and noisy and in parts dangerous as you walk beside the N-601. He recommends that pilgrims hop on a bus into the city centre and spend the time viewing the sites the city has to offer… And skip the last few kms beside the road. We talked about it and Pam pointed out that if we did this we could have two nights in the city and really get to enjoy the break… We took no persuading !
So that’s a few more kilometres of the camino I haven’t walked but I’m not worried. Every day once we have arrived, showered and done our chores we go ut oand explore the town. I reckon every day that I’ve walked I could add 3km or more to the tally… So when we get to add up the mileage I reckon I’ve got plenty in reserve to cover these last few kms.
AND what a great decision it was. Leon is in party mode and we arrived on the first day of their celebrations.
We wandered the streets through a medieval market with stall after stall of goodies and street after street of stalls. We met so many friends and even Catherine and Mike joined us for a beer… It seems that everyone has decided to stop over in Leon.
The cathedral in Leon felt more familiar… It really reminded me of Exeter cathedral and the stained glass is truly beautiful.
Outside the cathedral we met a group of French pilgrims who were truly remarkable! This incredible group of people were working as a team to help 4 wheelchair pilgrims complete the 800kms from the Pyrenees to Santiago. I can vouch that some of the terrain we have covered has been really tough and how these guys have pushed and pulled amazes me… And reminds me of how wonderful the spirit is along this path.
So we’ve been tourists for the day… And best of all… We got two nights in the parador! Down to earth tomorrow and back on the road but I’ve loved Leon and I would recommend a visit if you are ever down this way.
The landscape will change quickly now as we’re passing out of the mesata and we’re heading back to the mountains. The weather will be cooler too which will be a relief after the heat of the mesata. If our plans are right and if we encounter no problems we should reach Santiago in two weeks… And by the end of the day tomorrow we’ll have less than 300km to go. I really can’t believe I’ve walked nearly 500km already and met so many amazing people!
The only downside of Leon in party mode… The shops were closed. Mr Sims had topped up my card with an extra 200 euros and he gets 196 euros back in change… He’s a happy chap!
Once again thanks for all the messages. The creepie albergue was due to the two creepie owners… I christened the tall silent one Norman ( aka Bates). It’s a kilometre off the camino on the wrong side of town. We opted for the private hostel in the centre of town and had a double room with bathroom for 22.50 each. Sorry don’t remember the names… The town was El Burgo Ranero.
Blister is OK… Still not sorted but I think I am on top of it.