Camino Diary: Walking The Camino Francais Day Twenty Six

DAY TWENTY SIX: 3 November 2012 from Leon to Villar de Mazarife
There was much to see in the city from the already mentioned Gaudi legacy to the 13th Century Gothic Cathedral and the Renanaissance architecture in the Plaza San Marcos as well as the San Marcos Museum with access to the 11th Century Royal Burial vaults but without company I was not compelled to linger. Leon is an unlikely romantic spot but it is a place I wish to return to when I have the light company of a fun and playful companion. To stay in the unrepentant luxury of the Parador San Marcos and linger langurously over drink, food and conversation in the prosaically but aptly named Barrio Humedo – the wet quarter. The pilgrims that I bumped into in Leon had all retreated monastically to quaint rooms in little tucked away hotel rooms. For a mere 25 euros I found my own single room refuge at the Guzman El Bueno. I mosied around thronging streets and checked out the night illuminations at the Cathedral before settling in as an early customer for a late night supper. Learning from my bus trip into Leon I decided to unravel my way out of Leon by foot. It was an inauspicious day for walking; it wasnt long before I donned my rain gear and I stooped under the relentless pummelling of thick slabs of rain. I hadnt even reached the dormitory suburb of La Virgen Del Camino when I was drawn into the sun dried warmth of Babu Africa; hot strong coffee, crumbly croissants, open faced pilgrims and the Top Ten Whistling Tunes of all time. Now that is more like it. Refreshed & refuelled it is off to La Virgen, a serendipitious and far too brief encounter with the lovely Sarah Atkinson and the surprise purchase of a pair of ski gloves and the decadence of cheese & chocolate. Quite out of character. I could digress about gloves but suffice to say that having a pair at this time of the year is crucial. The weather was beginning to get colder and there were mountains to cross. I knew my Burgos football gloves wouldnt suffice. No sooner had we met but myself and Sarah said goodbye as I took the high road to Vilar Del Mazarife and the wide open skyscape of the isolated backyard of Leon.

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