2014 Walking the Way

Day 23: Taking the Lessons Deeper Day Leon to La Virgen Del Camino 7K

Barb didn’t sleep well last night, unusual for her and for me to sleep through which I did. Around 8:00 we ventured out for breakfast but all was still closed 

down from the night’s frolities. Back to the hotel we went and shared a pot of good coffee. Later I finished up my writing and editing while Lil went in search of food. She’d seen an American food store hoping to find good peanut butter but the store was a dud, mostly junk. 

All packed up we left the hotel in search of breakfast. Now everything was open again and the sun had warmed up the temperature considerably. We found a bakery that did the trick by advertising toast with olive oil and tomatoes. This sounded good to us and we ordered it with two Americanos. Sitting outside in the sun we added tuna fish and fresh cucumbers to our fare and made a pilgrims feast. For dessert we indulged in real treat of Gelato ice cream, two scoops each. Yumm! 

Sated, we next headed to the Cathedral of Leon which had a far simpler check-in process than that of Bourges and far fewer people too. We were given hand-held audio guides. The narration was helpful and added to our appreciation of the sublime beauty of this twelfth century masterpiece of gothic architecture and design. The stained glass windows streamed light into the vaulting grace of the columns, knaves and transits. For Lilly it was the most beautiful church she’d ever seen. Awed by the sacred energy yet held by it too, she felt both cozy and divine. We left the church feeling full of grace, blessed with its light to go forward on our Way. 

Hence we began our departure from Leon. The route continued through the old part of town passing interesting plazas, churches, and buildings. The day which had begun so cold and crisp was now warm and summery. We walked slowly because we wanted to be easy on our feet. We also were in no hurry as we had a reservation at our next stop. Barb’s foot did bother her some but not greatly and she thought that the weight of the pack didn’t aggravate it. My foot seemed better too but I didn’t put any undue pressure on it by walking at the brisker pace I enjoy. Instead I walked slowly and purposefully for I think that is the message I’m getting. 

We arrived at our destination around 3:45. The check-in was at a bar/cafe nearby and the bartender saw us and flagged us down so we didn’t have to come back. Our lodgings were clean and comfortable yet had the least character of any place we’ve stayed so far. However, it did have a bathtub… always a plus! 

Barb took a bath while I started the day’s blog entry. I then took a long nap awakening refreshed and hungry. We headed out to find a grocery and on the way stopped at another amazing church: the Basilica de la Virgen del Camino situated close to our hostel. This was a modern structure built in 1956 yet inside looked to be from the Baroque period. A very interesting blend of two visions in one building. Beautiful white Lilies were everywhere, smelling sweet and fragrant. We saw them, her name sake, as a blessing for her feet to heal well and soon. 

I stopped a passerby for directions to the grocery and soon found it where we stocked up with our favorite foods for the Way: fruit, watercress greens, rice cakes, nuts, chocolate and tuna. Then it was time to look for a place to eat. We made a big circuit in search of a restaurant without success coming back to where we started to eat at a small bar/cafe that advertised macaroni, stewed meat and dessert with wine and bread for 8 Euros. 

The waiter and his wife who made the food were lovely and so was the dinner. We are now all stocked up on protein and carbs for tomorrow’s walk. Barb and I had fun rereading our early entries from this trip and marveled at all that has transpired on this journey. 

We decided that the first two weeks were to get us ready for the lessons of week three that came with entering the Maseta, the part of the trip where one faces the emotional and mental challenges of the Camino. This was when things began to disappear, beginning with an innocuous sock that signaled the start of harder things to come. 

Now missing a guidebook, a knife and a usb cable later, we are going through the challenges of physical pain and the mental hardship that comes with wondering if you should keep going, or even can keep going on the Way. Again it seems to come down to surrendering to what is in front of us and trusting what we will need will come our way as it always does. 

Yet despite all of the above we are deeply grateful. The lessons we receive only help us to be clearer and more compassionate with ourselves and others. They allow us to ask for help and face our fears and grow in trust that All Is Well! 

Now we are back at our hostel and Lilly-Barb has just turned out the light and is heading to meet Nod. I am going to enjoy a nice bath and soon will join her in the land of healing dreams. 

Hasta Manana Amigos!


Lil: pilgrim’s friend. The weary pilgrim. 


Three friends of the Way. Soaring Spirit. 


Grace in space. Rose Window. 


Rose Window. Soaring Spirit. 


Basilica of Virgen del Camino. 

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