Long long day.
On the road at 7:15. Fantastic clear sky, stars galore. And then a very dramatic sunrise. Since the east was behind me I walked backwards for awhile. 1st 20k walking solo through fields. Hay stalks being tilled into the ground. Background noise hum/drone of tractors, birds, crunch of my shoes on the ground only companion. Lovely to have clear sunlight, cloudless skies in the morning. 1st I can remember for days. Not a single village the whole way. But there are starting to be more ups and downs. In the distance the mountains to the north are much closer and clearer. This is the old roman roadway, very straight. Stopped for breakfast of banana, sweet bread (from Frómista) and dried apricots (missing the grapes, apples and figs. No fruit trees for days.) on a rise where I had a gorgeous view of the mountains across a seemingly endless mowed hayfield. Lovely.
Only other pilgrim was Daniel, from Sweden, who I passed as he unhurriedly, deliberately took some photos in the amazing early morning light with a real camera. We both walked blythly by the “Camino Cortado” signs only to find ourselves at an impasse where some heavy construction was paused for the weekend.
At 20k, about noon, I arrived at Mansilla de las Mulas, my intended destination, a small town but very busy with people pouring out of the church and strolling through town. I was overwhelmed by the number of people. Bought a small carton of gaspacho and sat in the very nice patio of the albergue for lunch. Decided to go on 6k so that I could arrive earlier tomorrow in León and enjoy the day. Nice walk out of town over a bridge past incredible 3 ft thick town walls, but shortly thereafter the way began to be littered with the detritus of modern towns. Lots of cars (all small!) and warehouses.
Missed the next albergue, met Angyal from Hungary as I was emerging from a cafe having downed an oj (and complimentary tapas) and trying to decide what to do next. He said León was only 8k further, so I thought, why not, I’ll have all day tomorow in León. He was wrong, it was about 14k making the total for the day about 40k. I was exhausted when I finally got to the albergue, but was very grateful for his company. Immediately saw Nikki, one of the Nelson, Canada 5, and shortly thereafter Nando and Eduardo. It was wondeful to see them. It felt like being home. We went to the gorgeous León cathedral. They were having an organ and cello concert. We stayed, but I was so tired and the chair so uncomfortable that it was hard to sit still. We had to rush to get to the albergue by 9:30 for vespers with the nuns who run the albergue. Very sweet service. More hugs with E & N, wrote about two lines of this blog then dead to the world.
11 Oct 2009