Welcomed by St. Benedict

Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon
April 20, 2015
8:10 AM to 12:55 PM
4 hrs 45 min for 20.5 km

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Just over twenty kilometres on our twentieth day of walking. I think we have done more than 525 kilometres. That does not include sight seeing anywhere. We plan on doing a few kilometres here in Leon before this day is over. It is five hundred metres to the Leon Cathedral and there is plenty to see en route. The old city looks like a great place to walk: curving narrow streets with interesting shops, fun people watching cafes and bars and amazing historical sights.

We are reposing in one of these. We are in part of the former Benedictine Monastery: Hospederia Pax. A statue of St. Benedict greeted us at the entrance to this very modernized hotel. Once again we have a bathtub ( a long one, Brian is leaning back in…we await our turns) and a very large bright room with three single beds. Wow, wash cloths: how decadent, the first I have seen in Spain! Our room looks out on a medieval square. Remnants of the city walls surround three quarters of the city centre.

James and Danielle arrived before us. James is not feeling well- a bad cold. They went for lunch in the hotel dining room. They said it was fabulous. They paid twelve euros for a lunch that would have cost them one hundred dollars at home. We would have supper here but it is not until nine by which time we would be starving or asleep. We will go elsewhere.

While we were waiting for our room to be prepared, we went down the street and had wine/beer and tapas. All good! The drinks cost seven euros. The tapas were free.

Although it was two degrees Celsius, we did not wear longjohns. The sun warmed us quickly. Our first few kilometres today took us out of the walled town of Mansilla and into a pretty countryside. For the rest of the day we crisscrossed back and forth a very busy four lane highway, sometimes under, sometimes over, sometimes walking between two highways. We thought more of our way was going to be on paved shoulder; so, it was a relief that most was on dirt road. Magpies searched for food in ploughed fields. Storks tended their young on every church steeple and a few in nests on tall trees. We were flanked by hydro towers, communication towers and telephone poles but also rows of chestnut trees leafed out and beginning to flower.

Flat except as we neared Leon, then we climbed a couple of steep hills so we could descend them into Leon.

We were lured off the trail in the village of Puente Villarente. We had crossed the specially made pilgrim pedestrian bridge looking at the long still road-worthy medieval bridge when the arrows led us to the right. I was suspicious that it was leading us to an albergue. It was. It should be illegal to use yellow arrows to direct people to albergues. Those should only be for the Camino. We went a kilometre out of our way before getting back on track.

Time to tour!


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