- Monday, 06 April 2015
To say that Spanish eating habits differ to those of the Dutch and British and is a huge understatement.
This is a breakdown of an overage day in Northern Spain from my perspective:
- 7:00-7:30: Breakfast
- 10:00-10:30: Second breakfast
- 12:00: 13:00: Pre-lunch
- 14:00-16:00: Lunch
- 17:30-19:30 .Drinks and small snack’s, handmade crisps etc
- 20:30-22:00: Dinner
- 22:00-god knows!: Drinks and snacks
León day 2
- Sunday, 05 April 2015
Although last night’s curfew was was midnight instead of the usual 22:00 I was in bed well before then. Today we have moved to a convent just off of a really beautiful old square, where the curfew is a respectable 22:30. This is not as daft as it may sound when you tend to wake up and leave really early.
Tomorrow I will probably move on to Villar de Mazarife, and will take the more scenic of two possible routes.
Thankfully for some, this vast flat region will become a thing of the past as the terrain becomes more mountainous again as the path climbs towards Cruz de Ferro and then on to O’Cebreiro in Galicia(!) and beyond, but first Astorga which I hope to reach in two days time by and feet allowing.
Because I am staying for two days in León to rest my leg and foot, some friends are now one full day or more ahead of me, while others are still one or more days behind me. Every day I meet new people, sometimes there is a chemistry, but not always. This mornings farewell with one fellow pilgrim was particularly difficult I think, especially for her as she was torn between staying a second day in León or moving on with two other companions.
Mansilla de las Mullas to León
- Saturday, 04 April 2015
Hopefully I will arrive in León today where I plan to stay two nights. The first night at the municipal allbergue and the second night at a monistery up in the centre near the cathedral. I have heard that most of the private accomodation is full, I suppose because it is easter, so I hope that I can find a bed for the night as I doubt that I will be able to walk to the next town with my foot and leg in the state they are currently in. Still, its now 6:15 I am ready to boogie! I am just waiting for signs of life in the albergue as I don’t want to be the one who wakes everybody up!
It’s 2° outside, my rucksack is packed and I am just waiting for Frederico and Mary-Rose (who did a great job with the blisters my foot!) to get ready. I came across a great bakers shop yesterday that also do coffee so we will take breakfast there.
The walk to León was pretty much as expected with few highlights if any. My right leg started to hurt like hell at around 11 a.m. as did the blisters on my left foot, especially the one underneath my foot. I was pleased to arrive I can tell you.
My companions and I ended up at the San Francisco albergue as it turned out that the municipal albergue near the river closed down in 2012. The room that we are sharing feels to us like a 3 star hotel. The room has just two bunk beds and has its own private toilet and shower! Tomorrow we will spend a second night in the other municipal albergue up near the cathedral, no doubt in a large dormitory.
The city is pretty crowded and has a festival atmosphere as it is easter.
After a visit to the cathedral my companions and I watched one of the parades, intermittently poping into a pinchos bar for a drink and a snack.
Later on we watch a second parade.
The number of people out on the streets and the atmosphere were incredible!
As a special treat we ended up in an excellent Michelin listed restaurant where we shared a starter of Leónaise specialities; chorizo, a kind of beef ham and tongue. The chorizo was absolutely fantastic and the toungue was nearly as good as kissing! I chose spring lamb with potatoes and pepers for my main. Mmmmm spring lamb. (drooling and Homer Simpson gurgle here).
The festivities went on all night.
Well, I have now walked some 462 km and what feels like a lifetime ago since setting out from SJPDP and I really looking forward to a well earned break! Tomorrow, well actually later today:) there will be another huge parade. The people of León sure know how to put on a party and celebrate easter!
El Burgo Ronero to Mansilla de las Mullas
- Friday, 03 April 2015
Somebody asked me on Tuesday why I was planning to cook. I answered “because it’s Thursday and that I had promised that I would cook on Thursday”. What I didn’t explain is why Thursday and why cook at all. The reason that I chose Thursday is personal and is in part connected to my camino. The question why cook? Well, I find that to be a daft question. Cooking in a albergue is cheaper than eating out, except for the cook maybe;-). Cooking in the aubergine has nothing to do with saving money for me. More importanty it brings people together in very a special way. There is shopping to be done. And then there is the preparation and cooking itself, and after eating there is the clearing up and the dished to be done. What I am saying is that most of the participants of the meal get involved in the preparation of it in one way or another, it becomes a team effort. Because of this such meals are great fun! This is the main reason I cook from time to time in the albergue.
Each morning, one by one, we wake up and fumble around in the dark. Getting our few belongings together and then get dressed. Then its a quick wash. Some pilgrims eat breakfast in the albergue, while others go out looking for breakfast in the current town or village. Others eat breakfast in the first village along the way that has a bar that is open.
Many pilgrims set out walking upright and at a good pace. By the end of the day everybody’s feet are sore and most of us have the pilgrims waddle! As today’s will involve a fairly short walk of just under 20 km I am hoping that my waddle won’t be too bad today.
After having finished todays walk I am now in the municipal alburgue in the lovely little town of Mansilla de las Mullas. The people that run this albergue are absolutely amazing! My left foot is a bit knackered at the moment as I have now three blisters on it and a toe that has doubled in thickness. My right leg is still swolen but hasn’t got any worse. Needless to say, I have developed a pretty fancy pilgrims waddle.
As it is Good Friday and most of the shops are closed, but this being Spain, the bars and restaurants remain open. This evening there was an easter parade in the town, after which I had diner with a few friends.