2014 Walking the Way

Day 21: Most beautiful day on the Way day Sahagun to Releigos 29K

I had a lot of fun writing the blog last night. After taking a few days off due to technical issues it was nice to be writing again. However, there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to! It was late when I turned in and early when we got up and due to a deficit of rest my body hurt today. 

We left our lovely hostel at 8:15 after coffee and a piece of what looked like freshly baked pound cake, delicious with a hint of anise flavor. The morning was lovely for walking, bright sunshine and crisp air. 

Our destination was Leon and though initially we thought we’d only 20K to walk, it turned out to be 27K, so another long day. With exception of the first hour and a half the rest of the day’s trek was along highways and through suburbs of Leon. I told Barb if I were to skip a day and take a cab this would have been it! 

Barb’s foot, while gradually healing, has not completely mended. Today was the fourth day we sent her backpack ahead by shuttle service. It is a fabulous operation where we leave the pack at the hotel or hostel with an envelope having the address of the next destination and 7 Euros inside, attached. When we arrive later that day magically the goods have safely arrived. This service has allowed Lilly to walk with only a fanny pack and avoid further weight and stress on her feet. 

While I have had my own aches and pains, mostly on my right hip and leg, it has been a relatively pain free trip. Yet today my right heel began to hurt in familiar way. I’d problems with my feet on the last journey through France and this brought up memories of those hardships. As the day went on the ache mitigated some after taking an Aleve. Perhaps more importantly Barb helped me see the implied message of slowing down. I changed my pace and it helped. 

Things can change so quickly on the Camino, one high moment can soon be followed by a low one. In the end it all seems to balance out. This leads to learning to be in balance to begin with: a major lesson of the Way Lilly and Will are discovering. 

By 3:30 we reached our hotel in Leon. A three star establishment very near the cathedral in the town center that we’d found on Booking.com. While it looked nice online to our delight it was even better in person, complete with a great big tub! 

Lilly bathed and washed her clothes, I took a long nap. Oh, those naps are so regenerative, especially when I have shorted myself on sleep the night before, as I’d done last night. I awoke at 5:30, took a leisurely bath and finishing my book about Jefferson and Hamilton and their relationship and roles in the founding of the US. By the time I’d done bathing and washing clothes it was past 7:00. 

Rested, clean, and relaxed we went exploring this lovely city. The streets were thronged with pedestrians, vibrant and alive, full of their lan, the wonderful spirit of these Spanish people. We dove in and headed to the cathedral. Again we were impressed with its beauty and grandeur, Barb finding it even more beautiful than the one in Burgos. The visiting hours were over so we walked around the plaza enjoying the grandeur and form of the church, thinking we might come back and see the interior tomorrow. 

The receptionist at the hotel had given us several suggestions on dining spots. Searching we wandered through the narrow streets and alleys of this old European city looking at the people and shops. One small street opened to another and Barb spied a book store ahead. Wondering if they carried English books she looked in the window display where, front and center, was the guide book for the Camino that had disappeared on us. Though we had managed well since its loss we both thought it wise to get a replacement copy to help us on the rest of the journey. 

On buying the book Barb asked the clerk, whom she had a good feeling for, if he know of anywhere nearby where we might find a USB cable (for the keyboard I used to type the blog. It too had gone missing). He said there was a store that sold electronics and phone accessories two doors down we might try. 

Great we said and thanked him going onto the shop on the corner where I had an in depth conversation about mini USB cables and did they carry one that would work for my keyboard. The young man was very helpful and we went through several options but none seemed quite right. In the end I went back to the hotel and retrieved the keyboard and returned to the store. Once he saw what I needed he immediately found the correct USB plug and charger and once again I was back in business! 

With two of our basic needs met we were happy as clams, with a guide book for our journey ahead and a way to charge the keyboard to continue blogging. Appreciative of our good fortune we continued our search for a place to dine. 

When asked for a place he would recommend, the man in the bookstore told us all the restaurants in the area were frequented by locals and we’d be happy with any we chose. As we wandered further there many to choose from. Finally we had a good feeling for one and, like most restaurants here, went up to the second floor dinning room. 

The place was almost full with one large table of American walkers, though we weren’t sure if they were pilgrims, and a few locals besides. A table for two awaited us and to our delight the waiter offered us a menu in English. The atmosphere was gay and celebratory and it was a happy feeling to know what we were ordering for the first time in Spain. 

After careful consideration of our many options we settled for a caramelized apple, walnut, and goat cheese salad, a dish of wonderful roasted vegetables (at last), and scrumptious lamb chops, with Perrier, wine and beer to wash it all down. 

Yet another great meal in Spain and we were beginning to think that Spanish food does offer a wonderful cuisine that has been largely unknown to us. I think we had a preconceived notion that the food in Spain would not be of much consequence, yet our gastronomic adventures have proved otherwise. 

It was almost 9:00 when we sat down to eat and by the time we finished it was well after 10:00. The desserts didn’t excite us so we passed and opted to go to a nearby creperie. Barb had a chocolate crepe and I a “Costa Rica” made with caramel, coconut and rum. Tasty. We enjoyed our treats while sitting on the steps of a neighborhood church eating quickly as the night air was getting chilly. 

Walking back to our hotel the streets were now almost deserted. Restaurants closing, shops shut up, the hustle and bustle of the earlier evening now a whisper in the night air. We remarked how fun it has been to see the various faces of these cities at different times of day. We really liked Leon and looked forward to exploring it a little more before moving on tomorrow. 

Back in our cozy and comfortable room we settled into our routines of reading and writing. Soon it was time to turn out the light and say: 

Buenas Noches Amigos!

       

The Way. St. James-a homage to the pilgrims. St.J. on his Way. 

       

Virgen Peregrina. Door of St. James first gate into the kingdom of Leon for ancient pilgrims. Cathederal at Leon. 


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