Walked 19.8 km, 4 hours 48 minutes
Ascent: 110 meters
Descend: 80 meters
Kilometers to be traveled: 323.2
After more than 6 months I write this story down and I gradually need the photos and my daily report to retrieve that memory of how the day went. I still have the alberge in my memory, several rooms are connected and where possible there were mainly bunk beds. I don’t know if this alberge is so anniversary-proof. Yes, in 2021 it will be another James year, then July 25 will fall on a Sunday again.
Getting up at half past five and I still remember some of the statements made by fellow pilgrims in the same bedroom, I will not repeat them. The Korean pilgrim group is also busy preparing for the next stage. I think this alberge is home to the largest group of Koreans I have encountered so far on my hiking trail. They are all polite and respectful towards everyone.
Packing that backpack is really something that I can now almost blindly do, it is also getting better and the space that remains seems to be growing. But then I think I’m getting used to the volume and the free space. The 2 vacuum bags are also a good tool, they are actually meant to keep things dry, but they do their best to save space. After packing and preparing, go to the kitchen and eat some of the provisions. There will probably be another moment to eat and drink on the way. But not here in Mansillas. When I walk into the street there is a nice atmosphere again with the lighting and the early morning color.
Out of the village and then follow the road to the west along a small path. It has continued to run along a road. If there are no buildings, there are fields with corn or other greenery. The clouds in the sky color a beautiful morning glow, the pilgrims each walk their own pass (and too bad). I am fairly used to maintaining a walking rhythm, but many pilgrims change their strides every 10 meters, which is a bit annoying for me.
The path along the road becomes the edge of the road, yes on the left (safe) side of the road, also pay attention because it is a busy road. And a photo of my shadow is also included, on a yellow wall. At a cafeteria, now not those Dutch fries, but Spanish coffee houses, make another morning stop for an orange juice, cafÃ © con leche and croussant. And take a look at the 10 euro daily menu that costs 15 euros on Saturday and 18 euros on Sunday.
I approach Puente Villarente the last big place for Leon, the final destination for today. We do not walk over the arch bridge, but are led along another path along the bottom, giving us a beautiful view of the arches. Then again parallel to the busy road, where beautiful murals have been applied in some places. A short distance away from the busy road via an arc, and then at a small distance to follow this parallel again. It is not a difficult road, slightly sloping.
And then you pass a meadow with a fence around it. In that we are a good friend of mine, if you read this and see the photo, the person I mean knows he is. He comes to greet me and I can stroke him over his head. Saying goodbye is hard, but I have to go on. Again up a hill towards Leon, not far anymore. Another church with stork nests pass by, it is getting less and less I think, but I can also be mistaken and no longer pay attention to it as before.
The busy road is more or less searched for, the border of Leon is approaching. Then a blue footbridge looms, which should lead the walkers along the busy road, but it is not in use, or not yet, that is not clear. What is clear are the yellow arrows to the west, so getting lost is still not possible. Now at the highest point on the outskirts of Leon, the cathedral of Leon is visible in the distance, looking through the trees.
There is a descent on a path that is somewhat affected by rainfall. The walking is not pleasant and the many water that has run down here has left its mark. Fortunately for me, the path has dried up and hardened, so my shoes don’t get dirty and wet. On the outskirts of Leon, a former church has been set up as an information point. It is a short 3 km to the center. A little further on at a crossroads, volunteers are waiting for pilgrims and giving information about Leon and possible interesting points to visit. They also hand out sweets, but can I accept sweets from strangers?
Walking through the city is not that bad and the intended alberge is not very difficult to find. It is originally a monastery of the Assisi order. The overnight stay costs 10 euros per person, we can share our 4 and 1 room, with our own toilet and shower, we can also deliver the dirty laundry and it is washed and dried for free, a pleasant surprise.
After stationing in the room to freshen up and after handing in the dirty laundry, we go into the city together, first looking for a restaurant for a menu del dia. In a pretty chic restaurant so have lunch, can eat a good meal for only 13.50 euros. Then continue to view the center in the rain. On to the cathedral, the attraction of Leon, for us then. We also passed a museum dedicated to Gaudi, in a building designed by Gaudi. Yes, the same Gaudi as that of that unfinished cathedral in Barcelona.
Also bought and viewed an entrance ticket for Leon Cathedral. Lots of stained glass windows, the interior is more sober than that of Burgos, which impressed me more. After the tour we continue our tour through Leon, the drizzly Leon. You can see exactly who a pilgrim is, you can easily remove them from the crowd. Off to the alberge and rest, of course make contact with the home front again and reserve time for the bvlog.
In the evening we go again for a restaurant in the neighborhood, because the inner man must also strengthen, even though the day was not tiring or exciting, you have to nurture your strengths when possible. So we walk down the street looking for a restaurant, yes we are on the early side again, by Spanish standards, we want to sit down at half past seven and we find a restaurant where we can go. For a change a menu of the day.
The portions of the 3 courses are not small, not large but huge, so that strengthening is a pod peel. The road to the alberge is short, just to see if we can stock up for the coming days and then on to our room. If we would like to, we can stay outside until 11:59 pm, but by then we are already 2 hours in 1 ear, actually 4 ears !!!! We also understand that most Koreans doing the group tour stay in Leon for 1 whole day, so it might become a bit quieter on our path in the coming days.
Accommodation: Albergue San Francisco de Asissi