Today we walked 11.1 miles (17.9 km) in 6 hours with breaks.
We made it to León!
I really wanted to make it to León this year but when I calculated the walking days I didn’t think we would. Pamplona, Logroño, and Burgos are all actually slightly larger than León and its population of 134,000, but León has been an important city since it was built by the Romans in 29 A.D. Today the star of the city is its impressive 13th century Gothic cathedral.
We left Mansilla at 7am, which seems to be a good starting time for us so we can get to our destination in the early afternoon and avoid some of the heat. The scenery was a bit strange today because most of it was in the outskirts of León, and it was hard to tell where the neighboring towns ended and León began.
Both of the Camino guide books we have warn about today’s stage, and both even go so far as to suggest taking the bus to skip it. Apparently there have been some improvements to the safety of the walking path as it enters León but not nearly as much as the authors feel could, or should, be done. We had no problems though, and I think anyone that feels comfortable in a big city shouldn’t have too much of a problem either.
On the way into town we stopped at a supermercado (big grocery store) and stocked up on food for snacks and breakfast. It’s always fun going to a grocery store in a foreign country.
We got checked in, had lunch, and went down to the city center to see the cathedral. While we were there we ran into Henry from Atlanta. The last time we saw him and Scott was several days ago, and we were wondering if our paths would cross again. One of the things that often happens when people finally arrive into Santiago is that they run into people they haven’t seen in weeks — maybe not since the first day. I wish we could see all the people we’ve met when they arrive in Santiago but that can’t really happen the way we’re doing it in multiple years. So it was great to see Henry here in León and hear how they’re doing.
We also saw Tom and Frances from Ireland/Canada again the other day, and he mentioned us in his blog — I even got featured in a limerick! :-)
Here are the photos for today.
Walking through a sleepy little town while everyone is still sleeping:
Climbing up a long, steep hill:
An impressive section devoted to ham: