From Sahagun to Leon
Day 16, Sunday 8 September 2013
Distance to Santiago: 378,9 km
We slept in Albergue Viatoris in Sahagun. We arranged for our washing to be done on a high temperature to get rid of the bed bugs. Ek was bont gebyt and the red spots on my body was swollen and itchy. The albergue assistant offered to get ointment from a nearby pharmacy, which I appreciated. We shared the dormitory with 50 other people and the bathrooms were unisex. This was really uncomfortable because the showers had no place to put your clothes and you have to reach for it naked. Nevertheless we had a good night’s sleep with the sound of light rain in the background.
We left the albergue early and it was still partly cloudy but not rainy. We felt refreshed and ready for our first stage to Leon. Provincia de Leon is the largest, wealthiest and most populous province on the Camino.
We arrived at Hermanillos after nine o’clock and had breakfast at Albergue El Jardin del Camino. The morning was cool and fresh and a few other pilgrims were also having breakfast while the owner was mowing the lawn. We opt for coffee, frito huevo (fried eggs) and pan (bread) with mantequilla and mermelada (butter and jam). It was interesting to see how tough, mature, male bikers ordered glasses of red wine and beer to complement their breakfast. The road from Hermanillos was bad, rocky and we were afraid of punctures. Marinda consulted her iPhone maps and we opt for the optional route which we joined at Villamarco. It was tarred and we enjoyed cycling to Mansilla de las Mulas.
In Mansilla de las Mulas we came across a gathering of traditional dressed Spaniards. They were members of the Maragato culture, who are believed to be the last Moorish people in Spain. They were descended from the Berbers of North Africa who crossed into the Iberian peninsula with the first Moorish incursions in the early eighth century. The Maragato are spread over 40 villages in the greatly depopulated hills outside Astorga in Leon. After centuries of maintaining their identity and customs they are struggling to survive.
We arrived at Leon at 16:00 and booked in at a private hostel Alda Compostela in Leon.
Basilica of San Isidoro containing the bodies of 11 kings of the ancient kingdom of León.
The gothic Santa María de León Cathedral in Leon also called the House of Light or the Pulchra Leonina.
Gaudí’s Casa de los Botines.
The Casa de los Botines (built 1892-1893) is a Modernist building in León, Spain designed by Antoni Gaudí. It was adapted to serve as the headquarters of Caja España, a local savings bank.
We had done 57,8 km for the day.