Day 17 – Leon
Day 17 – Leon
What a difference a good night’s sleep makes. I walked 36 kilometres today and then (taking my guidebook’s advice) jumped on a bus to avoid the urban sprawl into Leon. So I’m all refreshed ready to explore Leon.
This morning I passed the halfway mark. I’m still wondering what the heck I’m doing. Yesterday I awoke full of energy and the desire to break away from the pack for a few days of solitude. Boy did I get it! Forty kilometres of straight, flat, dusty, hot, gravel road. You are alone, completely alone. There are no distractions, just the sound of your footsteps and the weight of your thoughts.
Last night I felt sick. I don’t know if it was the distance, the heat, the undercooked chicken at my last stop or all of the above. The albergue was ok but the town was like something from the twilight zone. Population about 20, one albergue and one bar.
I decided to have a short day today only 25 kilometres and spent €25 for a private room with bath. After a shower and a snooze I feel much better. My clothes are in the washing machine for the first good wash in two weeks and I’m going to have a good meal and hopefully a good night’s sleep. On the camino little things feel like such amazing luxuries. I hope to carry this appreciation of small things forward into my life.
Tonight’s albergue – a welcome oasis.
I walked 26 miles today and the last 10 was this. It felt like a very, very long day.
A wonderful early morning surprise
The meseta seems endless.
The high point – alto – of today’s walk at dawn.
Dawn breaks over today’s destination – Burgos.
Pilgrims seem to be obsessed with arranging stones.
Not sure what this is but it looked interesting.
The initial novelty has gone. It’s just miles of dusty path and hot days for now. But the blessings still flow. The friendships still flourish. The gratitude still permeates.
Grapes growing in the red soil of La Rioja region
Supporting each other
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the camino is how total strangers become friends so quickly. With the first week now over, those who only had a week available to walk have gone home, those with a tight schedule have quicken the pace and those with injuries have slowed down. This has resulted in some emotional, even tearful goodbyes after just one week. I wonder what it will be like saying goodbye for those who manage to walk together for five weeks.
An industrious vendor of cold drinks alongside the camino.
Pilgrims pause to watch the sunrise over Los Arcos
Today was one of the best days so far. It was a long, hot 29km walk into Rioja vineyard country. But the company was great. I walked with a wonderful lady from Spain, practicing my Spanish as we talked about all kinds of subjects. Chatting away, we got distracted, missed a turn and ended up lost surrounded by vineyards. Thankfully an ‘angel’ (her description) appeared ( driving a truck) and guided us back to the camino path.
Day 5 – 6
Relationships – Holding on and letting go
Yesterday I walked alone for most of the day and didn’t manage to reconnect with my walking gang before needing to bed down for the night. My first reaction was mild concern. Have I lost contact? Will I see them again? But my faith kicked in and I looked for the opportunity being put before me to meet other people. And sure enough I met and spent time talking with two former Jesuit priests who are walking together. As my eldest celebrates his birthday today, I am reminded that cherishing the time I have with those I love is important because letting go at some point is inevitable.
After the cool of the mountains, the landscape now changes to drier and hotter; much of what I expect for many days to come.