MANSILLA to LEON — 12 miles
Today started off with a little mishap. After I got up and ready to go I picked up my backpack from the floor and found that the water bottle was still attached to it and had been leaking all night. The backpack was sitting in a pool of water and was soaking wet on the backside — which went against my back, and the shoulder straps were also dripping with water. There was no way I could wear it today. So I had to switch to my day pack, where nothing was accessible. My fingernails were ragged and kept catching on my clothes, I couldn’t find the plastic bag for my pajamas, even though it was right there, I should have washed my hair 3 days ago and Dick didn’t offer to get me any coffee this morning. All of this added up to put me in a funk. The good news was that Dick was able to take my backpack with him in the car.
It was after 8am by the time I left and after a half a block the first person I passed was Matt who was sitting on the sidewalk having a smoke. I found the Camino trail and quickly proceeded out of town. Immediately the Camino put me right next to a busy highway.
The diesel fumes and noise of the traffic just added to my irritation. However, there was one pretty part.
And it lasted all of 2 blocks. Then I was back by the highway with noise and fumes. I listened to my MP3 player to try and block out the noise but it didn’t. And then it died because I hadn’t charged the batteries. I tried to switch to music on my phone but didn’t know how to do it so I had to text Dick. He got me all straightened out. Then the path ended and we were up on the highway walking alongside the cars and trucks.
After about 6 miles of easy but noisy walking I decided to stop for a break. I wanted an outside cafe because the weather was so beautiful but there were none. I passed up a Cafe with pastries in the window and then turned around and went back to it because I wasn’t sure there would be another. When I got inside, who was there but Leslie and Brian and his buddie. They were just finishing their break so I had a little coffee with them and told them to go on ahead. I took my time drinking and resting, not in any hurry to leave.
Back on the road the traffic continued and the terrain started to get hilly. I felt like a slakker pilgrim in my day pack as everyone else had their full packs. I passed Carol and Leah but didn’t stop to talk as they were trudging up the hill in their full packs.
There were a couple of cute parts like this donkey with “Buen Camino” painted on it’s side.
Then the path continued alongside the highway again. Dick kept texting me that he would meet me for coffee at some point but there was never a place to do it.
Finally off in the distance I saw a big city and couldn’t believe it was Leon.
It was another 3 miles of noisy highway before I entered town and met Dick outside the hotel. There was no place to park so I carried his backpack, my wet backpack and my daypack into the hotel while he looked for a place to park. The hotel was called the Conde Luna and was a big American type hotel with a view of the Leon Cathedral off in the distance.
I wasn’t tired after the 12 mile walk so we went out to see the sights of Leon and have a bite to eat.
We walked around for ages before we found a place to eat. There were lots of “Bars,” “Cafeterias” and ice cream and dessert places but when we looked at the posted menus we couldn’t understand what any of the food was. The words were so different from the Spanish I knew. We finally found one that had an English menu.
Calamari and Croquettes
“Little pocket filled with mushrooms, prawns and tomato”
We had planned to stay in Leon for 2 days of rest and relaxation but even though it was beautiful here neither of us felt comfortable being in the big city with the noise, traffic and all the congestion. And besides that, the whole time we were out walking around we didn’t see one person we knew!