Leon to Villar de Mazarife – 21.8kms
One day of rest and the body was already saying “wait, you were serious about continuing to do this?”
It was a tough slog walking out of Leon and it is official – John Brierley is on crack when he writes his damn books!
I was reading up about the next stage and he said it was tough, but not as bad as walking out of Burgos. Burgos was a long time of walking through suburbs, but it was still relatively green and pretty.
I don’t know what planet he is on, but walking through 8kms of mainly industrial wastelands was awful and I don’t think I recovered at all throughout the day from having my soul sucked out of my nostrils!
I arrived at the first stop (which was simply a continuation of Leon) and was desperately in need of cafe con leche and something to eat. I was playing food roulette as I passed by a number of places that didn’t look appealing in the slightest, but finally found at cafe towards the end that seemed decent.
The food and coffee was good, but it was filling with lots of loud Spaniards and as I was still trying to recover from the industrial slog, I vacated pretty quickly.
From this point, the paths diverged and you had a choice of two options. I was choosing the Mazarife option because it took me away from the road.
I came across a lady who was looking a little concerned as she was looking for the same path as me, so she was quite relieved to join me. It turned out she was another Aussie from near Parkes, NSW.
Just before the next village, I came across a lovely white horse, so I popped across the road to say hello. He was extremely friendly, but then tried to eat my sarong. Friendship over.
Di stopped for coffee so I waved her off and continued on. It was a strange walk because it didn’t feel like I had been walking long enough to have clocked up well over 10kms, but mentally it still felt like a bit of a slog and my feet clearly knew I had. It was also a lot of road walking, albeit remote roads, so this is less appealing too.
When I arrived in Chozas de Abajo, I knew I needed to stop and take my boots off even though Mazarife was only an extra 4kms. The only problem was that the ONE cafe in town was off the route, so I had to double back once I realised I’d hit the end of the town and not seen a single place to take a break.
Di caught up and we chatted until I once again wanted to get on my way. This last 4kms was long. It was completely on the road, very dry and exposed and to be honest, made me feel like I was hiking through central Australia.
I had a bit of a horrifying moment when a farmer was spraying fertiliser and it ended up on the road right as I was walking.
It was a relief to finally arrive at Albergue San Antonio de Padua, until I walked into the dorm and counted 40 beds!
There were two saving graces to this place. One was the Pilgrim’s meal was completely vegetarian.
The second turned up in the form of Jean. I was sitting on the floor sorting out my plan for the next few days when in she rocks. I laughed and jumped up to give her a hug.
She scooped me up to go to a bar filled with elderly gentleman playing games (I did say she was cool) before coming back to have a shower in the tiny bathroom that flooded the entire floor.
Dinner was four courses – salad, gazpacho soup, vegetarian paella and a crepe with chocolate topping, cream and strawberries. Not bad for about $17.
Soul should return tomorrow.