Day 25 – León – A Spanish City

As mentioned before I regret not doing a crash course in Spanish before starting the Camino. León is quite a big city and has a very fine museum with paintings, sculptures etc but every description, explanation in Spanish not even the exit signs are in English. So now I have seen a lot of which I don’t know nothing

We should of course understood that Claustro in the sign at the entrance has something to do with claustrophobia. There was not so many visitors, you where not allowed to take photos and there was a Spanish lady opening each room for you, then locking it and then after a while unlocking it and let you out! Very strange – happily for us we don’t suffer from Claustro and they had a lot of cameras so I don’t think the forget to let people out, but you never know!

But it’s not hopeless, did see this place, here it should absolutely be possible to have a talk in English.

This day has otherwise been a day of rest and resting we have! Went to a very nice jamon Bar, for each beer you order you got a ham tapas automatically. Didn’t understood that first so being a bit thirsty I got to eat a lot of tapas. You know – if you don’t eat you tapas you can’t have any beer! But I’m happy about that since it was so very good and tasteful tapas.

The only thing is that you get a little bit tired eating so many tapas so it’s soon bedtime!

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Day 24 – León – Entering the City through a detour

Lessons learned from yesterday – start walking as soon as possible in the morning. To do that you have to be early in bed. The Night Life of Reliegos took about 5 minutes, all bars closed except one, so that part went fast.

But as you know, after a few hours we need to get some coffee!! And that’s a bit tricky. Most places are closed.

Or should I say the look closed. When we arrived here there where no bicycle, door was closed and the place looked really locked down. But that is just a trick of the owner!! With a littler bit of force you can crash in through the door, to find a very hospital and friendly owners. And the coffee and morning bocadillo was super nice. Just before leaving the bull run in Pamplona started so we had a look at this on the TV together with a lot of people, all of them surprised as we that the place was open! But know we now for the future, just crash in!

So after coffee, we started to walk again, up and down, long road, left road, right road and then, when we did see the light in the tunnel getting closer to town. The road stopped!!!

We had to do a detour. You know how addicted I am to the app, and here you can see the sidetrack we now was going for. It’s one thing driving in a car where you just can turn on the air conditioning and tune into your favourite station. But walking – Mama Mia every extra step hurts – walking some extra kilometres is not a bonus you look forward to!

Well, after some hours(?), heavy up-hill walking we “the blue dot” was back on track again. At the first BAR we stopped and found the three lovely ladies from Orisson there too (however now they where only two of them left). Big Country, small world! So after a double KAS Naranja and some chitchat we where in happy pilgrim mode again!

Then it was just a few kilometres left to the city and the hostel. And here we are, taking the siesta as seriously as possible with some snacks and fresh orange juice. Yes, the supermarkets here in León are a bit different than in the countryside. There is a machine that automatically creates juice from oranges. You just pick the bottle, put it in the machine and press the handle and the magic starts. It’s amazing! Next time I have to test if it works with coconuts too!

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Day 23 – Reliegos – Doing the Meseta !

As usually up early and out in the night to go and today we have to do a bit over 30 km – that’s the punishment for only doing just 16 km yesterday. But it’s a bit tricky cutting everything into fine 20 km pieces.

So the first 20 km is going fine, then the sun sets in and you start to look around – everything is flat and there is no shadow anywhere.

There is nothing to do but walking and walking you must! Sometimes there are a few threes with minimal shadow, but if you look at the picture below; no road signs! It could be mentally encouraging to see that you only have 10, 8, 6 km to your destination. Of course you can see it on your phone – but it’s not the same.

If you find some more trees, a green spot it, there will absolutely be some tombstone telling about dead people. Did they die there on that spot? If you have some energy left you may consider to think about it, otherwise you just accept it.

Walking there, “Satan” will start tempting you – there are Taxi offerings here and there … just pick up the phone … it’s so easy…. a few click …

There could even be a bit shadow offered with taxi information all over the construction. Just saying; Give up my friend and take a nice cool cab to the next KAS Naranja BAR with jello!!!!!

Well if you manage to resist all these temptations, then finally you will reach your destination around 14.30 (starting around 4.30), just to find that everything than the hostel is closed!

And on top of that you feet feels like someone has cut them into pieces and your knees are double their normal size and hurts like h….!

That’s my friends is walking the Spanish meseta in the summer!

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Day 22 – Sahagún – The signs along the Camino

Walking the Camino you see a lot of different signs, so let take a closer look at them here.

First we have the informative and welcomed Camino sign, just follow the arrow and you are safe.

The we have the signs with a double message. Looking below, at the right side of this picture, you may think that right is the right way. But looking at the left side you find the painted yellow arrow, so it should be left – but it also happens that people would like to help you to their hostel painting such an arrow so you can’t be 100% sure.

Then there are a very, very, very few signs that express some kind of wish to get rid off the pilgrim. But as you can see it’s just to put up a new sign!

Then we have my favourite sign. The sign that tells the fast moving car drivers to watch up for idiots, “pilgrims are crossing the road”-sign! It’s a bit like the duck signs, unpredictable creatures like a pilgrim crossing roads is a walking danger!

Well, walking the Camino you have more than plenty of time to look and study signs. However as mentioned before walking in the dark and also Mother Nature can make it a bit tricky to find them. And so you get lost – it’s not a big deal, it’s just tag you may feel a bit stupid walking and wasting energy without getting closer to your beloved Compostela, the City where you foot-pain will end!

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Day 21 – Ledigos – Arriving at a small town

The idea behind the walking is to proceed, meter by meter and town by town. Between the towns there is an awful lot of meters, but finally you see the light in the tunnel. The small towns are spotted by their church but could be hidden away, you don’t see them until there is a sharp left or right turn and there they are!

This part of the walking could be the hardest, you just want to get to your sleeping place – but normally there are some kilometres left.

Then you arrive to the outskirts and I may say that I have seen more impressive areas. Quite often it’s an industrial area or like this a bit old houses and you start to reconsider your selection of town, are we going to stay in such a house?

Since non Camino people aren’t out before nine in the evening the town looks totally abandoned.

Then you have to spot the hostel, here we find it at the right. And now you hope that it’s open – sometimes there is just a door bell and if unlucky you have to wait for some action.

After some smaller confusion you get in contact with the receptionist, in 85% of the cases it is a lady. Often very kind, cheerful and helpful but a few times, like in Burgos, so absolutely unengaged that you feel sorry for them. Having a name like Sten Söderberg is also just to ask for trouble – so I often have to help them browsing through their own paper based notes to follow nd this very strange name.

And then, you get to your room;

And as you can see they are often very nice and fine, especially in the smaller cities. At this moment you only focus on the bed and “drop dead” is quite a good description of what you do (together with your burning feet).

Part II – The afterlife

About five you wake up to see the town. It’s still a bit empty

The stork has moved out from the town

And the traffic jam is a bit absent

The good side is that it’s very peaceful and tranquil – in a way you feel part of a Checkov play. Well, we don’t expect Onkel Vanja to appear, but at least one car would be nice to see! But if not today, then tomorrow or some other day!

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