After yesterday, this was always going to be an easy day. I’ve learnt the importance of planning each day in accordance with the distance (and terrain) to be covered. Everything from your pace, to the amount of water (and food), as well as time spent resting needs to be considered before every day.
I only left Mansilla de la Mulas at 08:00 – as I had only 19km’s to walk, I knew I would not be walking for much more than 3 and a half hours. I also adjusted my pace to an easy stroll. I had no need to rush.
About 5km’s into the walk I stopped for coffee and orange juice at the village of Villamoros de Mansilla. From there on, one walks along cornfields, and some woodland towards Puente Villarente.
The path then starts an unexpected climb, finally levelling off at Arcahueja, some 4.5km’s later.
I had a beer, colddrink, and a bacon and egg sandwich. It was probably the first place since I started my Camino where I came across a sandwich made with regular (soft) bread, like we know in South Africa.
The bread in Spain, served with literally every meal, has a much harder crust, and is more like a baguette.
I don’t particularly like crusty bread – prefer soft bread and rolls.
I once broke a tooth on a piece of bread, and is mindfull of what I try to sink my teeth into – I have more porcelain in my mouth, than the queen has in her sideboard.
From Arcahueja one starts another climb past the village of Valdelafuente – basically an outlying suburb of León, and the start of a commercial and industrial area.
Unlike in Burgos, though, the path stays off the tarmac, and it isn’t as depressing walking through the area – León (specifically the industrial area) is also much cleaner, and maintained, than the outlying industrial areas on the outskirts of Burgos.
The old part of León is very pretty, and very touristy – tourist groups being shown around on every corner.
The famous cathedral is the centre point, but there are some interesting alleys and squares around it. It feels much more like a European city than Burgos did (or even Pamplona).
I’m staying in Hostal Sweetheart – and from the decor I get the impression that it may be an establishment that also rents their rooms out by the hour. I have my own room though, so I won’t complain.
When I arrived (around 13:00) I had lunch, and then took a nap. I got up around 16:30, had a shower, washed my clothes, and then headed out to get some supplies. I’m running out of cosmetics – crazy what one pays for these things!
As the labelling on all the products are in Spanish, I just hope that I bought the right products – my face cream (yeah, I do face cream), could very well turn out to be hemorrhoid cream.
I’m now having a beer to celebrate my good mate Chris’ 59th birthday. Happy birthday, Chris! (I’ll have one for you too!).
Tomorrow the route splits into a northern and southern variant. I’m still undecided which I’ll take. I might just flip a coin.
I plan to have a good few beers tonight, and then have a good rest ahead of tomorrow. I’d like to leave León no later than 07:00.
Like all touristy places, León is also quite expensive – I just paid double for my beer than what I would have paid in any village outside of León. They have a beer here called, Amstell Oro – slightly darker than a lager, but not as bitter as an amber, that is absolutely sublime.
Radlers – beers with a hint of lemon – is also massive in Spain. There’s not a single beer brand that doesn’t offer a radler variant of their standard lager.
A friend asked yesterday if one can get lost on the Camino? I suppose you can – especially in the bigger towns and cities one needs to keep your eyes open for the markers. But the route really is very well marked – to such an extent that I’d say, if you haven’t seen a marker in 5 minutes, you’ve probably missed it. Locals are also quite friendly, and will point you in the right direction if they see you taking a wrong turn.
Though I’m quite some distance over the halfway mark for the Camino Frances (think I have about 340km’s to go until Santiago), I’m now also just about halfway for my trip – that includes the Camino Finisterre and Muxia.
I anticipate that the route will get busier from tomorrow, as pilgrims who opted to skip the Meseta rejoin.
May you have a great Tuesday evening.
Ps. There’s no such thing as too much Vaseline!