Plaza de San Marcos

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    • Day 24

      San Martín del Camino

      October 12 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

      Back on the road today. We had a choice of two variants, one of which was off the highway and more scenic, but also a much longer day, I’m mostly recovered but now it’s Morgan’s turn to feel puny, so we made the sensible choice and walked the shorter, uglier route. Plenty of scenery lies ahead, as we will be heading into woods and big climbs, day after tomorrow. It was a good choice for today, for us both.

      Not much for photos though. As I wound my way out of Leòn, I passed one of the Paradors, of which there are several (Five? Seven?) along the Camino. These were huge hostels/hospitals for pilgrims back in the day and in recent years have been recreated as rather luxurious hotels, stayed at by almost no pilgrims. That is what the photo is.
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    • Day 17

      Camino Day 12 - San Martin del Camino

      September 5 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

      Left Leon reluctantly at 7am for a long boring trail along busy highways and through industrial areas.
      26kms later we end up at our home for the night. Cold beer, cold bucket of water, and a hot shower, is all you need to finish the day. Dinner is on from 6:30pm so an early dinner and then early to bed.
      Another 24kms tomorrow, so an early start.
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    • Day 3

      The Peregrino statue at the Igl.SanMarco

      May 21, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 82 °F

      The Paradores is a museum and luxury hotel that was in the Movie The Way where Tom treats his friends to a luxury overnight. At the Peregino stautue in the square I met Frank from Ireland. He lived in LA for a year and has family in Thousand Oaks and Temple City! He’s sectioning from Burgos to Astorga.Read more

    • Day 31

      Day 27: León to San Martín del Camino

      June 13 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 55 °F

      Mileage: 15.5 miles
      Altitude gain and loss: Garmin says 0 feet. Not sure about that, but it was relatively flat.
      Weather: cool and cloudy for most of the day with some sunny moments and a couple of small rain squalls
      Total mileage: 315.5

      It was a day of lessons, and you know those aren’t always the most fun times. I somehow missed that there’s an alternate route that *doesn’t* follow a highway through this stage and part of tomorrow’s. I had already made a reservation for this route and went ahead with that plan. Today’s route took me out of León, through industrial areas outside of the city, and then into the country, but next to a busy highway. That said, the weather was almost perfect, and I had lots of time to reflect on the takeaway lessons here. I also met a New Yorker named Joe who also went to UNT. What are the odds of that?

      There were some pretty moments, and the mountains are getting closer!

      1. Sculpture of a pilgrim in León. I can relate to this guy!
      2. and 3. From the front of the famous (and very posh) parador hotel in León. (If you’ve seen the movie, this is the one they stay in.) I can just imagine the faculty meeting that’s taking place in 3.
      4. Small church on the outskirts of León
      5. and 6. For some reason there were a lot of structures built into the sides of hills today. Maybe I missed that I was in the Shire?
      7. The Basílica de la Virgen del Camino. Cool to see a more modern take
      8. Another church with requisite bells and storks in Valverde de la Virgen
      9. Apples? Crabapples? The apples for sale in the stores here are SO good.
      10. The walk did get prettier at the end of the day with green fields (corn, I think?) along the way. You can just barely see the mountains at the horizon if you zoom in.
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    • Day 25

      Left about 8am and walked until after 6pm with a few wee breaks. I was lucky with the weather as I could see storms and rain all around but managed to dodge it. Had to do a big one today as it's so difficult getting accommodation. Had a beer with Charley and Felix when we arrived then headed out for food. Had fish soup and sole with veg in a restaurant that looked onto the bridge. Superb food and view.
      Short walk to Astorga tomorrow.
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    • Day 23

      Castrojeriz to Leon

      May 12, 2018 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 4 °C

      Hey, from the city of Leon, Spain. So, today, reality took over. I woke up this morning in a small town on the meseta in central Spain. I knew as I have known for days that as much as I walked, I would not have enough days to get to Santiago. My choices were to ask for two more weeks off so I would have the time to complete this trip or to travel forward by bus or train. I decided that I cannot ask my coworkers to cover me for an additional two weeks and to be honest, I have no desire to be out here for an additional two weeks anyway. So, instead of slogging through the rain on the meseta with no realistic goal in sight, I decided to catch a bus to Leon. I have a difficult time with this as I set out to complete the whole 500 miles but will fall short of that goal. But, at the same time, I do realize that I set very difficult goals for myself. I thought I could bang out the 16 miles a day pace without rest days and complete this in 32 days. To the contrary, I have discovered that unless you are a marathoner, young and in shape, that is not a realistic goal. My son could do it in that time frame being 19 and in shape from a lacrosse season, but not I. Soooo...I will start again on the trail from Ponferrada on Monday morning. That is 128 miles from Santiago. I have been averaging 12 miles per day for the past 2 1/2 weeks. I will need to average 15 miles per day to get to Santiago, give myself time to get to Portugal and get my ass on a plane back home on the 25th of this month. But, at least this is an obtainable goal. I will settle for the 328 miles walking...short of my goal...but okay in my mind. I have already accomplished what I set out to do when I started this. Also, there are many ways to do this trek. Many people send there pack forward by courier....I have chosen to grind it out with my pack on my back the whole I will continue to do till the end. Not many photos today as it was more a travel day and a logistical planning day for me. Goodnight from Leon.Read more

    • Day 1

      Leon to La Robla 27kms

      April 29, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 6 °C

      It seemed strange leaving Leon and turning north as everyone else was heading west.

      The walk out of the city was not through an industrial estate but was boring and hard on my feet.

      I set off at 08.15am which is late for me. I walked steadily along the road until 10am when I stopped at the first bar I found open for coffee and some toast.

      It was a surreal moment as this other Spanish pilgrim asked me if I was Michael Byrne in a thick Spanish accent. He had just booked the same pension tonight. We had breakfast together. The bar owner presented us both with a San Salvador neckerchief and a badge. I thought that today was supposed to be flat. I was wrong.

      I left my new pilgrim friend and set my own pace on the trail. It is BEAUTIFUL! I spent hours walking in old forests in the hills. The walking was hard but very rewarding.

      So far, I’ve seen four other pilgrims on this section. I stopped briefly after 17kms for a spot of lunch in a small village. There was a small fountain and some bench’s in the shade.

      The last 10kms were through small villages and road walking which I hate. I had a couple of close shaves with cars not moving out but it’s amazing to see how quick they move out when you leave the point of your walking pole sticking out near the side of their cars. 🥹

      I arrived in La Robla around 2.30pm a little footsore. I’ve booked a room in a pension over a bar in the town. The proprietor is lovely and has washed my clothes for free. (She’s certainly brave). She clearly cares for the pilgrims.

      I intend to have a few beers and relax. Tomorrow, the Camino weaves it’s way into the mountains. I may be offline for a few days….who knows?
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    • Day 7

      Driving across northern Spain

      August 6 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

      We started the phase 2 of our trip resting and recovering from the blister and muscle that we didn’t know we had. Going downhill is draining and for the most part, El Camino downhill sections are rocky, with sharp incline and very long.

      La Ciudadela in Pamplona is very charming and beautiful. It seems to me that people are running on a slower clock and it takes a few days to adjust to that lifestyle.

      A lesson learn is to make sure you are flexible with your schedule at least when vacationing in Spain during the month of august. For the most part the entire European Union is on vacation during this time. For us, we lost a day due to no train availability to move a cross northern Spain. I had to spent $50 on an expedited international driver license so we could rent a car. There were no cars available on Sunday other than a cargo van.

      So we ventured on a Toyota cargo van. 75€ in diesel and rolled out of Pamplona around 11:30am. On our first stop we immediately realized we didn’t know how to engage the van in reverse. So while I drove Nick was watching YouTube videos until we figured it out. Wow, that was a headache.

      We reached Leon by 2:30pm and had lunch and visited the cathedral the center of town. We then continued to Sarria since the Lugo’s car rental office would be closed.

      It was a bit challenging with a manual transmission cargo van with limited side vision when goin in reverse. In these small towns, do not trust google maps that’s all i am going to say. We had a delicious dinner and spent the night at a hotel in Sarria. We started to realize the limited availability of hotels.
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    • León

      September 29, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      Seit zwei Tagen bin ich in León, einer der wichtigsten Städte auf dem Jakobsweg. Bei den Plätzen habe ich die Qual der Wahl. Drei Stellplätze stellt die Stadt den Reisenden mit Wohnmobilen und Vans zur Verfügung. TOP! Bevor ich heute die Stadt besichtige, werde ich einen Tag einfach gar nichts machen, denn irgendwie schleicht sich da bei mir eine Erkältung ein. Also Füße hoch, Musik hören, Streamen, Lesen und im Internet surfen sind so die Dinge mit denen ich mich so beschäftige. Das Wetter macht’s mir auch leicht, denn es regnet. Heute Morgen geht’s mir dann schon viel besser, also ziehe ich mich warm an, denn kalt ist es immer noch, und ziehe los in die Stadt. Meine Erwartungen sind hoch, denn ich habe bisher sehr viel positives über sie gelesen und gehört.
      Ich bin nach 15 Minuten in der Stadt und komme als erstes an dem Coligiata San Isidoro León vorbei. Hier wurde bis vor einiger Zeit ein Achatkelch im Museum der Kirche ausgestellt, aus dem Jesus von Nazareth beim letzten Abendmahl getrunken haben soll. Das führte allerdings zu einem riesigen Ansturm auf das Museum, so dass der Kelch aus der Ausstellung genommen wurde. Heute kann dieser wieder im Rahmen einer Führung besichtigt werden. Ob er wirklich der Kelch des letzten Abendmahls gewesen ist, ist jedoch ziemlich umstritten.
      Dann plötzlich meldet sich die Alarmanlage meines Wohnmobils. Ich schalte den Alarm über mein Handy ab, aber kurz darauf meldet sie sich erneut. Mist! Ich kehre um und laufe zurück zum Auto. Dort ist alles gut, zum Glück nur ein Fehlalarm. Ich finde die Ursache dafür und starte noch einmal neu.
      Auch León ist eine sehr schöne Stadt und folgt so den üblichen Mustern. Viele schmale Gassen mit viel Restaurants, Bars, Cafés und Kirchen. Ich mag das. Hinter der sehr schönen und großen Kathedrale von León setze ich mich auf die Terrasse eines Restaurants bestelle einen Hamburger und genieße Sonne. Für mich gehts anschließend weiter, schlendere durch die Straßen und weiter durch die Stadt und irgendwann zurück.
      Es ist schön, wirklich richtig schön hier. Allerdings wiederholen sich die Dinge für mich nun doch immer wieder. Morgen werde ich zur Abwechslung mal nicht in einer Stadt sein, sondern werde mal wieder nach draußen, mit dem Rad durch einen Nationalpark fahren. Da freue ich mich schon sehr drauf.
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    • Day 2

      First marker for the San Salvadore

      June 8 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

      Went looking for my start route for the morning and walked the first 2km of the route and back again, just in time to save my washing from the rain which has started again with thunder.
      Gaudy's creation for Leon is casa Botines.
      There is every nation represented and staying in this albergue; from crowds of American youngsters to Japanese Korean, German and lots of French but I am yet to meet another English person.
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    Plaza de San Marcos

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