August 29, 2018
Even though I was up at 4:00 a.m., due to some drama in my albergue, I worked on my blog and some other things and eventually set out at 6 o’clock. After speaking with my three Italian friends, I had it in my mind that I might try to make it all the way to León today. I knew that it was going to be a long haul and as an alternative I planned to stay in the town of Arcahueja.
Today’s path was straight and narrow and I hardly needed my headlamp with the lovely moon light on such terrain. Really, the only visual difference today in terms of walking was seeing a little more greenery and corn fields instead of wheat fields! I am so pleased with myself for being such a morning person because getting three hours in before it starts to heat up is a huge plus with the temperatures we have been experiencing here.
According to my guidebook, which I am starting to doubt – I walked 13 kilometers into Reliegos, who’s current claim to fame is being struck by a meteor in 1947. In days past, it was once the Roman town of Pàlantia located at the convergence of three Roman military roads. Then it was an additional 6.2 kilometers into the town of Mansilla de las Mulas. The itinerary of my sister-in-law extraordinaire says that the distance from my start into this town today is actually 24.5 kilometers. I only mention this discrepancy of distances from various resources because I probably would not have undertaken nor accomplished what I did today if I had correct information! Based on my guidebook, I thought my intentions were very doable. And ultimately they were, however the last part of my day was extremely long, taxing and challenging. In the end I was amazed at how many miles and hours I actually walked!
In the town of Mansilla de las Mulas, more than half of the medieval walls from the 12th-century remain. It was a refreshing little town to walk-through in the morning!
I continued on my trek through Villamoros de Mansilla, Villarente, (supposedly Arcahueja where I anticipated staying, but somehow was never cognitively aware of), Valdelafuente and Puenta Casto. The latter was “the site of a Roman fort and bridge. Hebrew grave markers suggest a Jewish community here as far back as 905. The hill was used as a vantage point in 1196 when Aragón and Castile attacked León, taking the castle, destroying the Jewish quarter and enslaving the Jewish population.” (A Village To Village Guide To Hiking The Camino de Santiago by Anna Dintaman and David Landis)
Amazingly enough, this day I walked into León – for my scheduled day of rest! As it turns out, I reached this much anticipated destinations a day earlier than scheduled!!!! Seven and a half hours with no break, 43.1 kilometers/26.78 miles later!! I don’t necessarily recommend skipping a break – or, walking A Marathon (!!) I actually planned to either break in Arcahueja or stay there-however I just didn’t seem to see that town. As it turns out, the last part of the day was so hot and arduous, that I am actually glad I did not break, because it would have made that last longer. I met Patrick from Ireland and he helped an hour of the latter part of my slog go by a bit easier. He came to join his son and both are with a tour group and neither had backpacks. In fact, he was walking with a little fanny pack and his shirt off getting exposure for an even tan! He was nice enough to stay with me for a bit but his pace was much faster than mine and eventually he left me in the dust on the hills at the end. And oh, those hills at the end! The last couple of days have been, for the most part, quite flat. So in the heat of the day, huffing and puffing away, I was not a fan of the re-introduced hill – through industrial areas to boot! In fact, most of the day was again along the highway, and in the end it was through the auto repair and muffler portions of the cities as well!
But OH, OH, OH!! When I descended over the last hill and saw León stretched out before me! I was in tears! So thrilled, and amazed that I actually had reached this point!! I thought I was going to undertake maybe 35 km today. In the end it was much longer than I would have planned for myself to undertake, but I did it! Yay me!!!
I arrived by 1:30, and I was able to check into my wonderful place of restoration, hotel Paris! My sister-in-law and her husband, Di and Mike, stayed here on their Camino, and if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me! Plus, they have a spa! Let the rest and restoration begin!
I know that it will be short-lived, but I plan to take advantage of every minute!
I have a fun math problem to figure out-where to store all of the newly purchased goodies I picked up at the supermercado! I don’t think I will have to buy another meal on the Camino! However, I am truly looking forward to having huevos fritos tomorrow for breakfast and I’m sure I will have a few café con leche and gin y tonic along the way as well.
And more Great News – Senior Guillermo Denman, My Dear Husband, will join me in Santiago de Compostela upon completion of my Camino!!!