Day 17: Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon

Day 17:  18.6 kilometers

Total:  512.9 kilometers

Today I got up early and was feeling good.  I packed my stuff and went down to the kitchen for a few moment to have some water and surf the web.  My friend Richard came down too.  He sat next to me then read the bible and smiled.  I forget where he is from but he doesn’t speak English and just a little of Spanish but we communicated very nicely.  The funny thing is he thought I looked like Jesus and wanted a picture.  I think that’s funny.  So we took a picture and then I departed into the night! Moments later only half way across the bridge Richard came running to me! Another person came into the kitchen after I did and he thought I left a bag.  What a good guy to come running out to try to help me.  After that we parted ways, he stayed on the road and I went on the side path.  This days route was all along the road so I didn’t need my flashlight, just had to stay close to the road.  That was made easy by all the cars whizzing by.  It was a different morning than what I was used to but I still looked up and saw my shooting star :)   I made a heart in the dark! Can you see it in the picture below?!

After a while I was already in a few small towns and heading to Leon!  I saw the sunrise I. The clouds behind some buildings and just when I was like man I missed the sunrise an opening appeared where I had a direct view! Perfect timing is no timing and just going with the flow and you will be where you are supposed to be when you need to!  What a sunrise!  It was just beautiful!

I made a few more hearts going into the city because for people like me when you get the camino mindset it’s hard to come into a actual city. There is the old part and new part of Leon and they all mix.  Many tourist shops and restaurants all with elevated pricing for Semana Santa.  So many people! The little towns you would see 20 people tops and this one you see 20 people a second!  It’s kind of wild for me when I settle my mind into my camino. I enjoy the little moments and small places. They big cities kind of overwhelm me.

It only took a little but after I made it into Leon for me to find a nice Albergue that wasn’t on my guide but rather by recommendation of the hospitalera in Mansilla de las mulas.  It was worth it! 10 euros got me a nice room with 2 bunks but only me and another guy from Germany. We had our own toilet and shower and laundry was free in the basement. To make it batter right next door was plaza San Francisco. A beautiful fountain and benches and flowers and beauty! I loved it! I spent some time there in the sun writing postcards whilst my clothes were being washed.  I made good time to Leon and left early in the morning so I took a quick nap!  Well deserved!
After the nap I went out exploring and found a lot of cool things to look at. As I was about to be in the plaza in front of the cathedral I heard my name and it was Alex from Brazil with a bunch of other people.  We all sat down for a drink and some bread. So many new people I forgot there names but I do remember Christine who I went out exploring the churches in town!  The architect and the time it would take was impressive. We walked and talked for a while before heading back to see the others still sitting there at the table. The cathedral opens at four so we were just in time.  We all went on our own tour of the cathedraland it really was beautiful with all the stained glass and arches! Afterwards we all met in the plaza and I took a picture of everybody then made some more friends for myself! What a day!

After that I grabbed a bocadillo for dinner and grabbed some supplies <AshleyQuinn> for tomorrow’s lunch and headed back to the Albergue to drop it off.  Quick turnaround and I back in the bleachers awaiting the precession for Semana Santa!  I hung out with a little kid and his 2 sisters who had fun talking with me in Spanish. There parents were selling balloons and such for the parade. I guess there is one boy and 13 sisters! Whoa !  I sat I there hanging out with them laughing until the sun went down.  It started getting cold so I decided to walk around and look for some coffee.  With coffee on hand I walked to the center next to the cathedraland my oh my there were a lot of people. The description would not do justice but it’s a you had to be there type of thing.  I did take a few photos and a video or two for my summary video.  When I get back to the states I’ll put something together with all my photos and such.  Overall a wild night of sights and sounds in massive proportions!  I walked back in a maze of bars and such getting kind of lost and re routed due to the parade but eventually made it back to the Albergue! With freshly washes clothes laid out for tomorrow and my bag packed to is time I head to bed!