Just the facts
Day 16: Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon
Distance: 12 miles / 19 km (shortest day yet)
Time: 3.5 hours
Total to date: 285 miles / 459 km
Today’s walk was more like a stroll. By 10 a.m. I had checked into my hotel. Yes, hotel. The albergue here has a reputation for being a sardine can and since I’m not big on fish I went to a comfy hotel. Great shower, luxurious towels, nice bedding, my sorry clothes drip drying on the balcony railing.
Speaking of clothes, I’ve taken inspiration from a famous Spaniard. After wearing pink tops for more than two weeks my rose period is over. A visit to a local shop scored me two new tops straight from Los Estados Unidos. I’ve entered my blue period; just the color, not the mood.
After shopping I got down to serious business and jettisoned a pair of rarely worn hiking sandals, an unused air mattress, those pink tops, and a few other odds and ends. They added more than three pounds to my pack. Now they’re on their way to Santiago via the Spanish post where I’ll retrieve them on arrival.
Then I went to Orange, one of Spain’s cellular providers. In just two weeks I had burned through one GB of Movistar’s data so this time I went to Orange to take advantage of their unlimited plan. Of course there’s a catch: the first GB is 3G, after that it drops down to Edge. Not a problem, in about two weeks I’ll be gone.
My conversations with the postal clerk and the Orange agent (no, not agent orange) were entirely in Spanish as neither of them spoke a lick of English. Amazing how fast a person’s Spanish improves when there are no other language options!
The day’s highlight was the Leon cathedral with its magnificent gothic architecture. I wandered inside for a couple of hours contemplating how, nearly eight hundred years ago, a bunch of masons managed to build something so incredible. It made me think of Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End”, two of my favorite books.
One thing I have noticed about the Camino is that as the kilometers accumulate, the number of friendly, familiar faces grows as well. After a few days of being social I wanted to wander alone today. But everywhere I turned there was someone I knew. Buen Camino!