Camino 2013 – Day 12 – Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon

Well here I am, sitting in a hotel room and I’ve come to the end of my camino. Logrono to Leon, 12 days long. I knew this day would come but I’ve not thought about it. Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been taking each day as it comes and sticking to the same routine. I think I’ll be awake at 5am every day for the next while until I re-adjust. The thought of using a washing machine to clean my clothes will be considered a luxury and I won’t need a sleeping bag for a while just yet.
But no matter how little I lived on over the last while and how basic my life has been, I enjoyed it. A small backpack, boots and a fit body were all I needed and it is so easy for anyone to do the same. I saw people of all ages, the retired, elderly, students and middle aged people like myself take part. It’s not rocket science and all you need is a few weeks to spare.

Today, we started from the Albergue at Mansilla and we decided to take it easy. We left the albergue at close to 7am today and I don’t think I’ve walked as slow since I started. The 5 of us talked about anything and everything while reminding each other that today is a slow day should we rush off. I’ve done that plenty of times before. I took plenty of pictures; more than I’ve taken in the last week. It wasn’t long before we crested a large hill and saw the whole of Leon from a height. It’s a beautiful city and you can see it’s cathedral clearly on the right hand side.
The walk into Leon isn’t attractive at all and a few folks take the bus in from the outskirts. But I wasn’t going to do that. Even though I was finishing today, I wanted to get to the cathedral. Seeing it from afar made me want to get their sooner.
We arrived eventually after another high climb and ran to a donut shop..it was like sugar to a bee. A donut and one smoothie please. Nice! After that I walked with the guys to their Albergue for the night, the Benedictine monastery. I don’t think this compares with the last few albergues.
I walk to my own pension that I have pre booked before I left Dublin. It made sense to do so as the Albergue needs people to leave at 8am at the earliest. My bus is at 3pm tomorrow. A great sense of sadness came over me at that stage. There was no quick shower, washing clothes, and getting to talk to other pilgrims about their day. I sat in my room and wished I had arranged two or three more days walking. I sat there for 10 minutes at least and thought about the last 2 weeks and the people I have met. Sigh.
I needed to visit the cathedral to get some sort of completion. I paid the fee and walked around the monument taking in its stained glass windows, history and detailed craftwork. I also caught an impromptu performance by an American choir. The sound filled the cathedral. I finished up here and walked around the city before meeting Franco, Michel, Tanya and Carlos. Carlos has very limited English but I understood him fine with the Spanish I knew. He wished me a Buen Camino back home in Ireland before walking back to the albergue. The remainder took in the sights and had a MacDonald’s also. Wow that tasted good. We decided to meet up later on that evening for some food and drinks.
Later on, we found a great restaurant just beside the Cathedral which still served Menu del Peregrinos. It was getting close to 7pm at this stage and the Spanish people were coming out to eat so most restaurants there tend to finish serving pilgrims around 7pm. The price was €15 for a three course meal which is kind of steep for us but we sat down regardless. I really enjoyed this dinner. We talked about the last two week and I told them what parts to stay in after Leon. I was incredibly jealous of them heading off but tried not to show it. I gave them a keyring that I bought in Santiago last year and wanted them to place it on the Cruz de Ferro. I will buy another and keep it until next year hoping to do the same.
Until next year.

4 thoughts on “Camino 2013 – Day 12 – Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon

  1. Beautifully poignant post, David. Your sadness is tangible, and I must admit – made me a little teary! You seem to have achieved exactly what you were wanting to on this part of your journey, and that must give you a real sense of contentment and pride.

    I’ve so enjoyed reading your entries, and have looked forward to seeing a new one pop up each time. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and adventures with all of us. This is something I would love to do myself, at some point in my life. You have given me the nudge I needed, and I thank you for that.

    I hope that you continue to write, as memories and forgotten details come flooding back over the next few weeks. You’ve experienced something very special – but you already know that.

    Until next year … when I, for one, will be waiting with bated breath to hear the next chapter of Your Way. 🙂

    Safe travels home, David.

    Best wishes,
    Skye

    • Hi Skye,
      Thank you so much for reading my blog and following my trip in Spain.
      It has been a little strange since I came back as I am not following the same routine of getting up early, walking and meeting people. My friends are nearly at Santiago and hope to be there by Sunday.
      I do have a longing to go back again. Next year, I hope to walk nearly 800km to Santiago. That is the idea now but this may change, depending on how many days I have for holidays.
      I also have taken note of the do’s and don’t’s of this trip so it will be easier to remember closer to my Camino in 2014. I find it easy to forget 🙂
      Until then I have alot of other things to do not relating to the Camino so my blog may relate to these for a while. But on the whole, if I think about the Camino, I will write about it. I will send you a link to my photo and video collection also.
      Thanks again for reading my posts.
      Best wishes
      David

  2. David,
    It was great to watch your progress through this Camino. I will be starting from Logrono on September 16th this year. We are kindred Camino spirits. If all goes well, I will return next year to walk the Camino del Norte. I’ve been bitten by the Camino and simply cannot get enough.
    Buen Camino mi Amigo,
    Arlene

    • Hi Arlene,
      Thanks for reading my posts, I appreciate that.
      You are starting at a perfect spot and if the weather is good, you will enjoy your first day. No doubt about that.
      I feel the same. I was bitten in 2011 and I can’t get rid of the bug. It is a good thing though.
      I am already planning my return in 2014..a long time away yet but I did the exact same when I returned from by previous Camino in 2012.
      Take care and Buen Camino
      Hasta luego!
      David

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