Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Leon to Villadangos (Sep 25)

When I referred to Leon's wide streets and pavements, it was that of the new town.  Behind the main thoroughfare of the old town where our Hotel Paris was located was a maze of winding narrow streets of shops, restaurants and bars that come alive after sunset.

Ahead of Leon, the distances between places to stay were such that we had to choose between a long day of walking or two short days. The change in the weather helped us make the decsion. Short days would allow us to cope better with the anticipated wet day, and especially the climb ahead since we had come to the end of the meseta.

Right on cue light rain began falling as we made our way out of Leon by following the yellow arrow signs painted onto pavements, drainpipes and sometimes smack in the middle of grafittis.

We made two stops at bars to dry off over cups of tea. Beyond the outer suburb of Virgen del Camino, without the shelter of the urban buildings we were soon exposed to very strong winds and driving rain. Our Gortex jackets did not protect fully and by the time we got to San Miguel we were cold and damp.

Storks' nests on church.

We had done more 10 km and our destination was only the next village but with the difficult weather we decided to catch the bus. Fortunately the main road followed the Camino route and we were able to find a bus stop quite easily.

It was a bit of a comedy when the bus arrived because we told the driver our destination was Villadangos when in fact our accommodation was 2 km before the village in a new largely industrial  neighbourhood. We rushed to alight when we spotted it, over the protest of the driver who was yelling to us that it was not our stop.

Our hostal was basic, located above a bar with little around just a petrol station next door and another pub 500m away. We had gone from the 3-star Hotel Paris in Leon to a truckstop! Still, it was clean, had good hot water and free wifi to the room, a friendly bar tender and a pretty stamp for our credentials. All we ever needed as pilgrims..

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