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Published: October 7th 2016
Part of it, couldn't capture the whole of it on my phone
Its Friday 7th Oct 16 and I am further on than expected. I arrived in Leon at about 1 pm today.
The last time I told you about my adventures was about 3 days ago when I was planning on walking to Terradillos de los Templarios.
I may have mentioned before that there appears now to be a significant increase in peregrinos on the path compared to last week when it felt quieter. Its as busy at the beginning.
As we set off from Carrion de Los Condos (Robert Reinhold and me), there were hordes of fellow peregrinos and all had walking poles. When we walk, especially when we are fresh in the morning we walk with a rhythm. As I observed the trail of pilgrims in front of me it struck me how they looked like some sort of invasion by weird insects or robots. All with similar sort of kit on and backpacks, walking with poles, middle legs first, then outer legs, middle, outer, clickety clack. About a week ago, as usual we set off in the dark on an uphill wide dry rocky path. Again there were a few in front of us. In the
dark and as they cautiously found their way, silhouetted against the ground and skyline it looked like another landing on the moon or mars and they were probing the ground with their walking poles. Later in the day when we are tired and nearing our destination, round about mid afternoonish, we look like a troop of refugees, all our worldly goods in our backpacks plodding wearily on.
Over the past couple of days the scenery has been more varied. We have still had a lot of walking through the middle of corn fields a la Boris Johnson. Even then there has been more variation. The track was tree lined in one place: Boris cockatiel style. A bit of green plumage. At another point there were some plants that looked like giant spiky reeds or chives in Brobdingnag maybe. Reinhold knows what they are in German but not English. Apparently they are flowering plants with orange or yellow blooms in spring/summer. There were stretches of them with gaps now and then. Boris patchy mohican. There have been patches of greenery, the odd tree or bushes to break up the fields. Boris with a bit of leopard print on the shaven
As we approached Terradillos de Templarios we even had a jot of soft pale green field planting and some ploughed fields. Like a Madeira cake marbled mainly with vanilla but a touch of mint and some milk chocolate.
We splashed out in Terradillos, big time. We paid 10 euro each for a bed instead of 8. However, we got a room to ourselves with just 3 camas in it ie single beds, no bunks. We were virtually hysterical with excitement at such luxury. Still communal bathrooms etc but a room to ourselves no bunks! Ah.
It was fitting as it was our last night together. The Irishes were at the same albergue but a different room and we all had dinner together with Jan a new recruit to our little band from Denmark.
Reinhold has to be in Astorga by Monday to meet a friend who will walk the rest of the way with him and Robert is meeting his partner in Leon on Saturday. Jan is flying back from Leon at the weekend. I could have walked with them but chose instead to do the optional more scenic route. I am lucky not to have significant time pressures at the moment. Felicity and Robert were also going to do the scenic route but they set off later than us in the morning.
So the four of us walked to Calzado del coto where the route parts and I said goodbye to Robert, Jan and Reinhold. Reinhold, part time priest, part time orchid grower and full time angel.
The plan was to stay at the albergue in Calzadilla and Felicity and Robert were going to stay there too. When I arrived it was only 20 to 1, and I didn't like the village very much. This posed a dilemma as the nearest next stop would be 18 km away by diverting slightly to Reliegos. No bars or Fuentes (water fountains) on the way. What to do?
I couldn't stand the idea of 8 hours there so followed the arrows to the tiende (shop) and turned up just as the tiny man was opening up. I might have been in Lilliput as the man at the albergue was similarly tiny. Anyway I bought the usual half a French stick to feed an army, got my tiny friend to fill it with local cheese he kindly chopped up for me, (he was very pleasant, sweet and relaxed, his little head popping up just about above the counter and a fitting rotund body) bought some agua due to no fuente and a chocolatey cakey/pastry and marched off to find somewhere on the way to tuck into my feast. Strangely as I turned the corner back onto the Camino I spotted my tiny friend coming towards me on his bike. He must have turned up at the shop, served me then come away again
I sat on the edge of a cornfield and had my glorious feast then set off again replete but prickled all over my backside and socks. Ouch. I cant even get the sticky bud prickly things out!
My Spanish has improved. I have managed to order a cafe con poco cafe, muchas Lecce. Once. However my 'por favor' continues to provoke near hysteria. One thing I can do is roll my 'R's. I wonder if I over do it.
It was good to walk alone from saying goodbye to amigos. Its good together and good to be apart. We are almost bound to meet again before Santiago.
I wasn't keen on Reliegos, but I would rather be further on and not keen than stay 8 hours, not be keen and still have the next 18 km to do. It was quiet in the albergue though and just me and Melanie from Stuttgart in our room. We had an enjoyable time, a little walk (believe it or not)and dinner together. She is walking very slowly due to tendonitis do we set off separately.
I overdid it really, yesterday, and now have a totally avoidable blister and my knees have suffered. I have rested a bit today and will take it easy tomorrow.
Its a bit of a slog to Leon and I was tired on arrival. I had it in mind to stay at San Francisco Asis albergue but thought it might be easier to just go to the municipal which is directly on the Camino and cheaper. Having arrived on the edge of the old part of the city I was pondering how to get anywhere. I heard someone behind say ' it looks like someones lost.' As I turned to get my bearings our faces all lit up. It was the Canadian guy who had slept in the top bunk next to me (the boat) in Zariquiegui and one of his English friends. I said I was looking for the municipal, at which Tom (Canada) said 'we're in the San Fransisco and I can highly recommend it.' So that's where I am. We had lunch together with Wayne a new amigo they have made from America. I am in a room with only two bunks and guess what - en suite!!
There has been a festival in the city during the week and there are still markets and people dressed in medieval outfits so the atmosphere is good. The architecture in the old part is stunning as you might imagine.
I was ripped off by a woman market stall holder. She charged me 5 euros for a few biscuity cake things and looked hard faced about it so knew what she was doing. She is the exception that proves the rule. Overall I have found the Spanish to be very hospitable and kind. Everything else has been good value so I can't complain.
I had a rest then went to a bar 'cafe Lecce' nod, 'poor favor' virtually rolls about laughing.
Just about to publish my blog, lookup, Belgian Jean grinning 'how are you walking so fast.'
So in a lovely clean comfortable place with people I trust and know.
Reinhold would say 'its the Camino, that's what it does, it provides you with what you need.'
Tomorrow Villar de Mazarife maybe? Will play it by ear. Villadangos is slightly nearer but mostly next to the road. I hope I can get to one or the other.
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