Today I left the City of Leon behind. I left late this morning, being a Saturday breakfast did not start until 8am, and then Dawn came in with Jim so I got to meet Jim. Dawn has decided not to try walking anymore but just to enjoy the holiday and come back another year to try to finish the walk, they are going to visit the cathedral this morning and then bus/cab to the hotel.
It was nice to meet Jim, not sure whether he realises how much I know about him!! Anyway he seemed lovely and Dawn seemed much more relaxed which is great. I left them saying I would see them that afternoon when I arrived.
Leaving town it was clear that something was happening, the town and outskirts were packed at 9am, which is unheard of in Spain, it is usually deserted, and there were loads of people dressed in traditional dress. The fiesta that had started in Leon is now in full flow with a parade starting at 10am. There were bars set up along the streets and clearly later that day would be a full party. It was hard to navigate through the crowds!!
The outskirts of Leon lasted about 8/9km, quite a way, but finally I made it out. The path then divided. The main path carries on along a main road for another good 30km however there is an alternative route which is more rural and means staying off the main route. I am taking this route and staying tonight in a small town along the alternative route.
I am quite pleased as Andy and Sian both said how dull the walk was since they did the traditional route yesterday. However it was important that I found and made the turnoff otherwise I would be somewhat off my path with nowhere to stay! It was not brilliantly signed and for some reason all my instructions are for the traditional route which is not very helpful, but I did find the path.
Once on the route it was lovely. Beautiful countryside and I only saw and passed a few people. Clearly most people have gone the traditional route which is a shame as they are missing out. I passed George who I think is staying at the same place as me tonight, as well as two other men but didn’t see anyone else.
I arrived at my albergue around 1.30pm. I had just missed Kari as she was getting picked up from my town but staying a few km out of town. My room is great though, and the place looks nice. The last chap I passed just arrived as I was checking in but they only had one top bunk left so he headed on. The place I am staying is mainly an albergue with bunk beds and a few private rooms. The noise levels through the afternoon were amazing.
Dawn and Jim have just realised that they are in the town on the traditional route so I won’t see them tonight after all, but tomorrow we will all be in Astorga so I will see them tomorrow. George is staying here though which is good. There is really nothing else in town.
My new shoes seem great which is good, I might keep my old ones for another day before I bin them just in case. The difference in the read or lack of it is amazing!!
So I thought the thought for the day in my guidebook was interesting: solitude shows us what we should be; society shows us what we are. Still pondering this.
George and I are the only ones if our group here tonight so he and I had dinner together. He is such an interesting guy although loves to take the piss too. He is from Greece but now lives in Los Angeles and he is an actor, although in a small and specialist theatre. He has written the play that he will be performing in at the start of 2020, assuming he loses enough weight!
Tomorrow is a long day, 31km into Astorga but we have another big dinner as most of the group will be together for probably the last time.