Day 20 – Leon

Today was a 24 km day.  I slept quite well, but was still tired by the time I reached Leon.  Unfortunately, there were few places to get food along the way today, especially with it being Sunday.

As we got closer to Leon, the fields and farming gave way to more industrial stuff.  It wasn’t as bad as Burgos, but still not particularly attractive.  Those that have taken Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor through Philadelphia will understand.

The albergue I stayed in last night was particularly good.  They took good care of the guests and tailored a vegetarian dinner to meet hiker needs. Well done.  A particularly nice touch was setting out breakfast the night before so it would be available for the early risers.  This may be one of the best albergue experiences I’ve had.

Today I arrived in Leon.  I got lunch, then checked into the hotel (staying at a really nice property here) and promptly went out to pick up breakfast fixings and more Compeed for my feet.  Ran across my friends from Nashville & we met up with another of the group of friends that I like so much.  Unfortunately, she has suffered a foot injury and must leave us here.  I will miss her presence on the trail and I do hope that all turns out well.  We’ll stay in touch.  I’m very sad for her as this Camino was important for her.

The city of Leon has a long and distinguished history.  As the saying goes, there is history everywhere.  Old Roman and newer structures line the city streets – the cathedral is particularly stunning.  The people are wonderful, and despite the city being a tourist attraction there are many, many locals in the city streets.  I can think of few, if any, cities in the States that compare.

The four of us went to an organ concert at the Cathedral tonight…. Very impressed with both the inside of the cathedral and the concert.  I left a bit early to get dinner and turn in as it’s a long day tomorrow.  Dinner was great – I ate Italian at the Vespa 50 restaurant – Caprese salad followed by risotto.  As I was leaving I saw a couple of other hikers – a girl from Canada and her friend.  We had a brief but good conversation.

At 10 PM, the streets were still alive with people.  That’s one thing I like about cities in Europe, and especially Spain –  they become alive with folks walking, talking, and eating outdoors.  It stays light late in this part of Spain, which enhances the atmosphere.  

Leon is definitely on my “come back to” cities list.

With that, it’s time to turn in.  More tomorrow.