Camino Stage 21: León to Villavante

Even though I have really enjoyed the larger cities I have rested in – Pamplona, Logrono, Burgos and now León – it was nice to leave the last of these bigger cities behind and be on the road again. Somewhat to my surprise, I prefer the open country and the smaller places to stay in.

A longer day today and beyond the distance shown above – about 30km overall. The Google Earth track is more accurate. And it was a wet and very windy start to the day. It rained all morning and the walking was entirely into a gusty head wind – easy, flat walking but still tiring by the end of the day after walking into the wind hour after hour.

But I can hardly complain as this was only the second rainy day since the start on 17th April. And the forecast window where it was still very windy but dry appeared in the early afternoon, and I was able to make it tonight’s destination – La Molina Galochas – a renovated mill beside a stream.

The countryside is still very flat but at least in the first half of the day it wasn’t totally cultivated like that on the other side of León. This area is called the Páramo and is what I had assumed the Meseta would be like – lonely and windswept.

I pushed on on into the rain until the village of Villar de Mazarife where I stopped for a drink at a cafe. The photos below are of the church in the village crowned by its stork’s nests (you see them everywhere there is a high point here and the nests are huge – they seem to favour churches and old smokestacks – the storks look beautiful in flight), and the road out of town looking back to the village. That’s how flat it is.

IMG_1838

 

IMG_1839 I performed my ‘Good Samaritan on the Camino’ gig today in this section. I came over a slight rise and saw what I thought was someone, wearing orange, sitting on the side of the path a hundred metres or so ahead. As I got closer I realised it was someone lying face up on the path and rolling around. Thinking he was injured I hurried on a bit. I was just close enough to call asking if he was ok when he struggled out of his pack, so I could help him to his feet.

Turned out he was a Uruguayan cattle buyer who had flown from Montevideo to Madrid and trained it overnight to León to start his Camino today. He didn’t seem to have any idea about his pack. It was orange and huge, above his head. He had turned to look behind, the pack shifted and he ended up like an orange turtle upside down on the trail unable to roll back upright!

He just stood there while little Jeff fussed around him adjusting his shoulder straps and showing him what to do with the hip belt! I walked slowly with him for a while until he said he was ok and I walked on. I’ve heard later that he has hurt his hip and couldn’t understand why he was unprepared.

The last 10km passed uneventfully and I found my way to the overnight stop – a renovated old mill turned into a B&B – Molina Galochas. About a kilometre out of the town, so we settled in front of the log fire and let ourselves be wined and dined by our hosts who spoke hardly any English but did everything to make the stay comfortable.

 

 

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