6 June: Mansilla to Leon

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We made it to Leon. This signifies the end of the Camino Frances for us; Frances pilgrims keep walking westwards towards Santiago, but we turn right and head north to Oviedo on the San Salvador route. Another stage begins.
When we walked two years ago, we had planned to start in Leon at the wonderful cathedral, but when we arrived at the bus station, everyone was tired and it seemed easier to hop on the next bus to Astorga and start from there instead of navigating a biggish city – I was disappointed to not even get a peek at the cathedral spires, but hoped to return some time. Little did I realise it would be so soon. Today we kept getting glimpses as we zipped around climbing the old city walls, doing city-housekeeping jobs, and buying pastries made by hand in a village near here (so we were told).

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Where better to celebrate than right in front of the cathedral? The kids played “compare the two spires” and “compare it to Notre Dame in Paris” and then we went inside.
WOW!!!! The colours of the stained glass windows were like nothing we have ever seen. So rich, so deep.
But the timing was wrong. There was not long until the cathedral would close and so we did not want to pay the fee to just rush around in a frenzy. Would we stay here another day so we could go tomorrow? We want to both stay and to move on.
Eventually we reached the consensus that there were good reasons to keep walking (the main one being if we wait a day we will have to carry and extra day’s food because we would arrive at the last shop on a Sunday and it would be closed).
So the first time we passed through Leon we missed the cathedral completely….the second time we got a tantalizing taste……here’s to the third!
Outside the cathedral an ancient Roman market was being set up – I’m sure it will be really buzzing later in the evening, but we have a long day ahead of us, so had to be content with wandering round it as the cathedral bells tolled six and half past..

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Destination: Leon

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Distance: 20km + 10 round town
Cumulative Distance: 742km
258km to go
Weather: 23 degrees
Dinner: meat empanada and salad followed by chocolate mousse

PS We have been having lots of aniseedy-proudy-daddy days and so had to replenish our stash of aniseed balls….check out the shop where we did this (completely unlike anything we are familiar with, but very common here):

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All in the same tiny shop!

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7 thoughts on “6 June: Mansilla to Leon

  1. The market looked like it would have been fab!! On to the mountains then 🙂 glad you restocked the aniseed balls haha

  2. Hi Rachel, yessss every pilgrim loves Leon I believe. What a pity you couldn’t see more of the market. Once, I stopped in Caceres for an extra day during a camino just to experience a medieval fair. It was so wonderful and a special camino memory. Your photos have brought it back again. Thanks for sharing.
    Bless, Grace

  3. To stay another day would have had many advantages -what a shame that the timing didn’t work out. The BBQ looked like Rob’s idea of Paradise! Kids looking good in spite of the virus. Take care

    • everyone is well again – thankfully came to not much……if the decision-making were left entirely to me, I’d have opted to stay another day, or even two! But I want the kids to have a voice – we are doing this together. I think another of their attractions with moving on is that a French guy we’ve been walking with has become a bit of a hero to them – and they want to stay with him up the Salvador. He is pressing on. We have talked about coming back here for a few days at the end before going to Madrid if there is time. Of course there will be no Roman market, but going back to that right now would be disastrous – they wanted to spend money and not care about having to carry their wares!

  4. Your photos of the fair looked fabulous – as did those of the little candy cum pickle store! What a funny mixture of products on sale. Reminded me of the little chinese goods stores in out of the way villages – full of absolutely everything. So pleased you and the kids are happily walking. It is nice to have Rob home but I bet you are missing him. Dad heads off to meet up with K&K in a week and Craig’s mum is going to Samoa on Tuesday! Everyone’s off and travelling – only 6 weeks left for us!

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