Today we’d be walking to León! It was the last major city before Santiago, and I was starting to feel the end of the walk. In 20 days time I’d be home for my Mum’s birthday. This made me sad to finish, but I also felt guilty as I knew my mum was in hospital (from a broken leg, which was complicated as she is paraplegic). This left me with a strange conflict inside. Sadness, guilt, and knowledge that I should be still enjoying my journey on. But thinking about my mum stuck starring bored at the ceiling in hospital for days on end, made me feel an urgency to get home to see her (even though she insisted the contrary, as mothers do). The Magician and I walked alone for a lot of the day, along side main roads, which was really uninspiring. This made me long for our early days on the Camino in beautiful green forests. And only made the confusion about my walk ending soon harder.
After Reliegos, we reached a town called Mansilla de las Mulas. The town had a fortified wall on the outside (built by the Romans). The town was an important trade route even before the Pilgrim route boom in the Middle Ages. We continued on to another longish walk from the outskirts of León, till we got to our hotel for the night. These types of days have the enjoyment of reaching a vibrant city, filled with the Spanish culture. But 10k walk on concrete pavements into the city is always tedious, and hard on your feet.
León was founded by the Roman military in 68 ACE. The town was destroyed 996, then rebuilt. It was then the Capital of the Kingdom of León. Once León amalgamated with Castille Kingdom, León then lost its importance. Walking into León you can see the large historical buildings intermingled with 70s concrete high rise buildings. The town was bustling with hundreds of people going about their day, and the occasional camino walker starring thoughtfully into the distance. This was the nicest city I’d been in since Burgos for my birthday a few days before. The Cathedral in Leon is incredible… It rises high into the sky, framed by tourist shops and boutique restaurants.