El Burgo Ranero/Mansilla de las Mulas/Leon
I started walking on my own the next day at 6,30 am.Listening to the frogs walking along the railways that takes you to Leon and the roadway .
It was then that I met Olga from Slovenia, Ljubljana « Veronika’s country »:).I had some difficulty understanding her English. I think she was an Economist and worked at the medical centre as well as in a Gymnasium. Told me Slovenia had 2 millions people and a President who was democratically elected every four years. Her husband worked in the medical profession, he was a professor and was joining her in Santiago on the 17th. She spoke with him on the phone as we were walking.
She also mentioned that Slovenia had one of the best neuro-surgeons in the world.
Olga had heard that the European Commission was giving 25 Euros I think per day per pilgrim to Spain for the Camino – some of which to go for the plants – Trees which, in my mind,are lacking for a good part of the Camino – That was encouraging!
This particular section we were walking had plenty of trees that were planted but were not grown enough to give some shade and on that day…. we could have done with some believe me!
Stopped to a bar to have breakfast. Olga met with Theo (a Dutchman) who walked all the way from Holland and I continued with my walk, drinking water and crossing the Meseta. I have walked along the Meseta for a while.
Both the Camino Real (Frances) and La Calzada are joining in Reliegos. I arrived in Mansilla de las Mulas.
During the Middle Age there were 3 or 4 Hospitals and 7 churches.It was a meeting place for farmers.The fortifications made out of lime and rocks are still there. Only the Eastern door is intact.
I stopped to have a drink . It was quite early and I spoke with Frederique and Amalia his wife who had lived in France until the age of 17. She was telling me how difficult it had been for her to settle in Spain as she had spent all her youth in France. I decided to stay.
Olga and Jean made a quick appearance for some refreshments and went further on.
Lunch was really nice with a soup of lentils, chicken and a flan. I went to have a look at the town with Frederique and Amalia, got some fruit at the shop. Met some French people I had seen previously.
Went to bed early.
Left the Albergue, it was still dark. Walked really well, my new silicone soles did the trick. I caught up later on with the three young Spaniards I stayed with in Belorado. This was their last day of walking. As they go to France on a regular basis, they promise they’ll come and visit.
I bought a stick before I left. I hardly used it at all. Most of the time. I was holding it with my hands behind my back. Later on, I was told I should have bought two instead of one.:)
As we entered Leon, at the intersection I saw Olga with Theo entering heading towards the Albergue. I decided not to go there and went to stay at a Hotel for the night. Had a bath and went to visit the Cathedral and have a look around.
I had read some of the history of the Cathedral, built in 1222 which was the first one and most important Gothic one.Dedicated to Santa Maria de la Regla Inside there was so much wealth displayed and plenty of light as well. On the door there is the representation of St James.
Originally, Leon was a military Camp.
I came back to the Hotel, soaked my feet in cold water then did the ritual, unpacking and packing my « mochila » and leaving a few things behind. I watched a bit of TV – going through all the channels available – so as to get an overview of what the TV programs were. I had not watched TV for such a long time. Since I came back to France, I only watched a couple of times. I took two books with me one was a Guide for my trip, the other one « Le pelerin de Compostelle » by Paulo Coelho and I read some of it. A few people , on occasion had mentioned Paulo Coelho was the reason why they were doing the Camino. Some of them said they had never heard of him which really surprised me. Some of them went to buy his book after too.[/caption]
I don’t know why occasionally people were offering me books to read and I just could not put my head down, which was quite unusual because I like to read anything at any time. I noticed people were looking into their Guide’s books – some of them in great depth – To me, it did not matter so much because I had no idea where I would be going the next day except to leave from point A and get to another place when I had enough to walk. Don’t get me wrong, I did read the book and had an idea of what the « terrain » was going to be like but it was not that important to me. I guess because every day was different and I just wanted to absorb its content and discover it without needing any great details before I started. I thought it was more exciting like that perhaps, who knows? I also noticed that these Books Guide were all different, some of them had the numbers of kms marked onto the map, mine had not. Interesting.