It is always exciting to go into a big city on the Camino, but the downside is the entry and exit into and out of the city. Typically they are in unattractive outskirts and Leon was no exception.
As I was leaving the city, I saw few pilgrims and was on my own navigating my way. There was a young woman just ahead of me so I caught up with her and we walked together. She is Hoa from Tel Aviv, Israel. Talking with her made the two hours go quickly.
She is a student studying Chinese Medicine in Tel Aviv. She is on a short break between the 2nd and 3rd year of her program. Most college kids just want to go home and rest on the breaks; she chose to do the Camino. With limited time, she had just bussed from Burgos to Leon to continue and was missing the friends she had made on the first third of the Camino.
As we navigated the city, we crossed many busy streets. The cross walks here in Spain are usually set 10-20 feet from the corner so you are taking extra steps at each crossing. I suggested to Hoa that we should always cross at the cross walks. She said she doesn’t like following rules but always crossed with me where we were supposed to.
I didn’t tell Hoa, but I thought to myself, thank God young people question authority. Kent State, Tiananmen Square, Parkland High School students, Greta Thunberg – they all questioned authority.
We passed the Leon Paradore which is closed now for renovations. If you have seen the way, this is the hotel where Tom treats his Camino family to a night of luxury, each with their own private room, yet they all end up hanging out in his room as if they were in an Alburgue dorm room
I am pretty sure that Hoa and I solved all of the world problems in those 2 hours. We concluded that given the way everyone, with multicultural backgrounds, can come together on the Camino, the best thing that could happen would be for all world leaders to have to go on Pilgrimage. We chuckled at the thought of her leader and mine doing exactly what we were doing at that moment with a pack containing everything they needed strapped to their backs. Hoa and I parted when she stopped at an enterprising “rest area” set up in front of a manufacturing business.
In the final suburb before getting back into the country, I came upon an interesting Church and it was open so I went in. It was very contemporary.
We passed more Bodegas.
I would love to see inside of one of these. There is a bodega at a house on Brook Road in Warren. Maybe someday I will get to see inside of that one
Finally we were out of the city! Note to self: next time take a bus out of the city to Virgen Del Camino. But, had I not done that today, I would not have met Hoa so the pounding was worth it.
I can’t resist taking photos of kitties. I have spared you of most, but I love this one of the kitty on the hunt.
And I guess I can’t resist taking photos of bodegas either. When I was walking with Hoa, she hadn’t seen one before and said it looked like a Hobbit House. That is exactly how the guides describe them!
This was the “southern variant” considered the scenic way. The northern variant goes right next to the highway. While I wouldn’t call this super scenic, the sky way beautiful and provided me with a gorgeous reference photo for painting this winter.
When I find I am getting a little bored, I look for heart rocks. There were plenty yesterday. Here are just a few.
Finally I arrived at my Alburgue for the night. Not bad right? Being a pilgrim doesn’t mean you always have to suffer. I signed up for dinner and breakfast because this town has very limited services. There are just three hostels and one is closed for a family emergency for three days.
After a shower I set out to explore the town. I figured I would be back in about 15 minutes, but the Camino always gives you surprises when you least expect it.
First I went to the church. Two volunteers were sitting there, asked where I was from and handed me a brochure in English. The woman told me to sit down in a pew and read it; “it is very interesting.” The first part was about the church and town and was somewhat interesting. But at the end of the book there was information about storks. That was fascinating. I have been seeing HUGE storks nests throughout the Camino. While they are not exclusively on church bell towers I would say 90% are. Their size is amazing and they are built differently. Some are large and sprawling and others are vertical. I am going to put the two pages on the storks here in case you are interested. I know a few Mad Birders who might be! (Although it might be old news to them!)
After the church, I was wandering around the town and saw Rosevitha, a German woman who has pretty much been on the same schedule as I since I met her my second night on the Camino. She told me I must go to the Telephone Museum. Hmmmm, in THIS town??
I walked down the street and stepped into a Spanish National Treasure. A man who had been a telephone lineman his entire career has collected everything you can imagine related to telecommunications in the 19th and 20th century. He was very proud and wanted to show me everything. Here is just a taste of what I saw:
He even has a dummy lineman.
I signed his guest book and asked about leaving a donation and he pointed to a coin pay phone so I put some money in there.
The donation box is what the gentleman is leaning on.
The Pilgrim meal at the hostel was exceptional. A beautifully presented salad, gazpacho, vegetable Paella and a crepe plus, of course wine and bread was perfect. Once again the one-horse town surprises!
Every day on the Camino is different and full of surprises; today there were many. But it always comes down to the amazing people I meet. Today they ranged from a thoughtful young Israeli womanhood wants to make the world a better place to an elder Spanish gentleman who wants us to remember the past. Both full of passion and life. I am so lucky to have met both – and in the same day!
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