Distance: 18.1km, Steps: 27,053, Time total: 5.5hrs
It was a good nights sleep. I would wake up & hear snoring & go back to sleep. Woke up at 5.30am but fell back asleep to 6.30am. Mr D had a restless nights sleep & the snoring nearby kept him awake. All the late comers were the bunch of young people that partied on till late. They were in our bunk room & made a bit of noise when they returned to bed. So Mr D didn’t try too much to stay quiet when he packed up this morning & they were all still asleep. I had been coughing & sniffling for a while now & my cough was becoming more of a hacking cough. I feel fine besides this. Irish Ray goes, “Oh! You got the Camino hack!” Then he would demonstrate some breathing excerises I should do in the mornings that will help alleviate the coughing.
We left the Albergue at 7.30am & was there anyplace open for breakfast? No there wasn’t! So we took off to find breakfast down the road somewhere. We walked over an hour next to the busy highway until we came to Casablanca Albergue cafe in the town of Vilarente that was open for breakfast. It was super nice in there & we grabbed a couple of slices of fresh baked cake that was still warm from the oven. The two Amigos went by as we were leaving. We always seem to bump into each other!
If you follow the John Brierley book, it strongly recommends that maybe you consider catching the bus into the city as it’s unpleasant walking by the busy highway & through the streets of Leon. Mr D was like, “I’m walking the whole way by foot thank you!” I was so enthusiastic about getting to Leon I wanted to bounce and skip along with delight. But I coolly walked as it was going to be a long tedious walk but we had to stay focused as it is easy to get lost going in or out the cities.
We had the two Linda’s fly past us. We overtook the Amigos & John from America whom Mr D met at El Burgo & was keen to get way in front of to avoid talking to. ( They have a difference of opinion lets say. ) At one point before hitting the outer city we were going over a pedestrian overpass & one black & white cat came out of nowhere rushing up to Mr D meowing incessantly & desperately. Then it would run up to me & do the same as it smelt the cake in Mr D’s hands. So he gave it some but the cat didn’t like it & continued to meow for food. We left that cheeky little cat behind & maybe some other Pilgrim might chuck some food its way more appetitizing.
Heading into Leon the streets looked dirty with rubbish littered everywhere. The city centre is much nicer. But we had a difficult task; to find a room for the night. The Parador was booked up still so we wait till tomorrow to go there. Mr D started ringing places. They were all full. Things weren’t looking so good. Getting private accommodation on Saturday nights have always been painful for us. Mr D walked into the nearest hotel. They were full but the lady was most helpful in ringing a hostel that did have a vacancy. She remarked that for some reason this Saturday was very busy.
The hostal was 15 minutes out of the city centre but it would have to do. So we had to work out how to get there. Mr D did a fine job & we arrived by 1pm. Once settled in we went to find a local cafe for food. As per Mr D’s recommendation, I returned to a Farmacia for medication for my cough. Once that was achieved, the pharmacist recommended a cafe 1 minute walk further on! There we blew our lunch budget & had a big lunch with a couple of wines & beers. I also had a cream brûlée just coz I never turn down a cream brûlée! Mr D had a piece & managed to break a piece of the bowl! When the waitress came by & saw it, she looked at me & I pointed to Mr D “He did it!” Hahaha.
Mr D had his afternoon siesta while I relaxed, the room was so nice & warm, outside it was so cold! Our shower in the room is so tiny & useless, when you turn there’s no room so you bump into the shower handle turning the water off. The door doesn’t shut properly so the tiny bathroom gets soaked. We can’t complain, it only cost 42€ which is way more cheaper than Burgos was. And we got a bed for the night – make it two single beds pushed together!
We went for a walk in the early evening, I looked in shops & took photos. The city centre is a maze of laneways that you get lost in. And tapas bars galore all along them! One Pilgrim couple on their rest day stopped & chatted to us. They said they had gone around the bars, they get a free tapas dish with their drink. That sounded alright! We ordered drinks at one bar & I got a small bowl of nuts – super!?! And the German couple from Sahagun passed us saying a quick hello. It’s amazing to see anyone we might know as the laneways were so congested with people. The place is so huge!
Mr D had Timo spot him & walk over for a chat. Timo was saying how he will write a book & not recommend walking into Leon. When we went looking for a nice bar restaurant for food, we spotted the two Amigos in quite a nice restaurant. The Englishman gave his cheery wave at us while the American was quiet as usual. We would of liked to have gone in but maybe they would think we were cramping their style so we moved on. We did find a simple little tapas bar restaurant & had two small dishes as we were still quite full from lunch.
Mr D decided to buy a bottle of vino & have a quiet drink in our hotel room. We were both feeling tired & cold. We went into this little shop that sells wine, meat, jams & cheese. The shop owner’s daughter was so sweet. Only around 8 years old, she is learning English so her mum let her talk to us about the wine prices & such & take our money. The mother cut us a cheese piece each. Then cut off two pieces of cured meat. Then they gave us hand towels to wipe our hands. It was such an unexpected niceness. The mother & daughter made our night.
We are thrilled to be in Leon, to have finished the Meseta & have one more big city to get to – Santiago!