I left Leon around 9:30am on Saturday. I was hoping to attend a 9:00am mass so I could see the inside of the cathedral, but the place was shut tight. However, I did see them packing up the statues from the processions. They are really elaborate works of art. They must have an entire warehouse in which to store them during the year.
I had a short day planned; only 5 miles and a stop at La Virgen del Camino, a town right outside of Leon. It was just as well, as I was feeling a bit under the weather. The path out of the city took me through the Plaza San Marcos and across the Bernesga River.
The walk was not difficult, but it was decidedly unlovely. Still, the signs for the Camino were evident.
I came across some hobbit-holes. I’m not sure what they actually were!
And, even in the midst of what was basically a suburban town, there were remnants of older times.
Shortly outside of La Virgen del Camino was a most welcome stop.
It was donation only and he had a map for pilgrims to pinpoint their place of origin.
I arrived at my pensión soon after. After getting settled, I had a beer and a (complimentary) dish of the most delicious olives I have ever tasted.
I visited the basilica just down the street. Very modern and different than the cathedrals I’d been seeing.
By now I was hungry for some real food. But it was 5:30pm! What a silly time to want food! I went to a little place near the basilica and the guy said he’d try to find me something…and he did. A left-over portion of ham & cheese omelet with (of course) some bread. And wine. And that was supper.
By now I was sure I was developing a classic head cold. I dosed myself with various aids I had bought at the pharmacy, arranged for my bag to be picked up in morning and crashed.
Easter Sunday, I had hoped there might be a sunrise service. But that doesn’t seem to be a thing here. So I set out towards my next stop, Villar de Mazarife.
This is on the “Camino Alternitivio” which is a little longer, but doesn’t run bang up next to the highway. A much more pleasant walk.
Nothing was open when I left. When I got to the first little town the one cafe was closed. In the second, there was one cafe open and it advertised “desayuno especial.” I was so excited…but apparently that is only during the week. “What DO you have?” I asked. “Tostada,” he responded. So I had toast for breakfast. They love toast in Spain, it seems.
Arriving in Chozos de Abazo, there were many hand-painted signs advertising a bar (which in Spain, is more like a cafe.). This guy had even gone to the trouble of painting Camino-like arrows pointing towards his establishment. The rest of the town seemed absolutely deserted. But I was optimistic. Sure enough, it was open and there was food. Sort of. I had chicken wings, fried potatoes and bread. The chicken was dry, the potatoes were oily and the bread was stale. But – when you’re the only game in town, who cares. It was nourishment. And the orange juice was fresh squeezed at least.
For the last 3 miles, I was walking on the road. Very few cars and only a couple of other pilgrims.
I was happy to see the sign for Villar de Mazarife. My Albergue was right off the Camino and my bag had arrived yay.
They have a bar with beer on tap and a Pilgrims meal later. It’s not crowded and I’m sitting in the garden and thinking about having a second beer. Tomorrow I’ll press on to Hospital de Órbigo.