Writing from León – Day 18

You never quite know when the next village or city will show itself on the camino or what it will look like, big or small, declining or regenerating or even if it will be open or closed. It’s usually the church that shows itself first, towering up above the city. León arrived through the trees from 950m altitude. It was an exceptionally glorious arrival, complete with a backdrop of snow topped mountains.

Days on the Camino – 18

Kms – Today 20 kms. About 458kms down … 311kms to go.

Starting point today – Mansilla de las Mulas, Spain.

End of the day – León, Spain.

Number of girls in Africa educated – 21

Total funds raised so far $6,340.00 ($260 away from 22 girls)! 

If you’d like to contribute you can do so here.

Frances Antonia – Do it in a dress.

Thanks for the help Kimmy from the Women Who Hike team.

Today was dedicated to – Kirsty Bowlay you are so special! Another mother who I’ve never met. I was reading the comments on my Insta page the other day and realised Kirsty made her donation as a 60th birthday gift to someone special. I’ve never met Kirsty IRL! I think this is such an incredible beautifully layered story that makes so many people feel joy and ultimately gives a young girl without an opportunity a chance. Kirsty honestly this blew my mind in the best possible way. Thank you.

Accommodation – A hotel treat night! (€39 each, €44 with breakfast).

Food highlight – This tasty paella served with a beer. It’s kind of hard to get your head around having to buy a drink to get food. The beer prices are more expensive so you do pay for your food. When you’ve walked all morning it’s kinda hard to drink from early in the afternoon. We had a beer and this paella and then it was closing time so we walked to find a meal. Of course at 4pm it’s siesta time so we had to settle for a tourist restaurant … queue crap pasta! Dinner is fruit and yoghurt in the hotel room. Unlike other tourists we’ve got 32kms to walk tomorrow ;)

In a word(s) – Joyful .

Today I realised I don’t always take my pack off to go to the toilet! It has become a part of me. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. I also learnt a neat trick to wash clothes. While I had mine soaking in the bathroom sink. Alan (the younger half of the Texan brothers A team) tells me he starts his shower with his clothes on and washes them while he’s wearing them! Genius!

It was a rest day here for us. We have taken a break in the ancient Roman city of León after only hiking 20kms in this morning. We seemed to get our times all wrong so we were completely out of whack with food service and siesta times. In true slow travel style we didn’t push to see it all – we’re too buggered to take it in plus we’re getting around in socks and sandals. I’ll come back with my family one day.

You know I’m always saying there’s 101 ways to do a camino! Well here’s a marathon guy who is running the camino and we have seen him run past us as we’ve hiked into every big city. Pamplona, Burgos and now here into León. Kind of bizarre timing right.

That’s life on the camino. There’s always someone you know or know of just around the corner. The Irish serenader from yesterday’s cafe well he was also singing in this morning’s cafe! He’s a Dubliner who said to me ‘why wouldn’t you be singing – we’re on the camino’. I can totally relate to his feelings of joy, I’ve got them too. This afternoon we ran into a few of our favourites in León and enjoyed chilling the afternoon away.

As gloriously as León arrived tomorrow it will be 30kms behind us. Will I remember the hard work of walking into this city on one of the first routes that was along the road? Will I remember that once we made the outskirts we still had another 2 kms on empty stomachs and sore feet to walk? Will I remember that all my food dreams didn’t quite eventuate?

Probably not. I’ll remember the absolute breathtaking sight of spying León through the trees and the beauty along the way that caught my eye that I hope I’ve captured through my lens. The characters, the textures, the vibrance of nature’s colors, the sights and sounds that make travel and hiking so exciting to me.

Another day on the camino – a gentle reminder that what looks like a fairytale doesn’t always eventuate into one. And that each day has hundreds of moments and choosing the ones we focus on … well that’s where to find a beautiful life.

2 thoughts on “Writing from León – Day 18”

  1. Beautiful city Fran. Can only imagine the excitement of seeing glimpses through the trees.
    I totally get it when the expectations don’t quite meet the actual experience, especially when it comes to food expectations. Arrrgh!
    You have had so many wonderful moments, many you would have never expected …. queue serenading Dubliner. It’s one long journey of new experiences and super special moments.
    Liz xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This ‘mail’ was late arriving to me this morning; and had me checking my phone like an addict! I love my morning read of your adventures Fran. I’m with Liz; it’s so bad when food expectations aren’t met!
    Wonderful photos again..and your words too. Yes to focusing on the good things,
    Buen Camino xx

    Liked by 1 person

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