Duncan on the Camino: Day 20

Duncan Camino 77

Leon to Villavante (31km)

After a relaxing afternoon and evening in Leon, we made an early start this morning,leaving the Albergue at 7am. It can be quite challenging navigating your way out of a city before sunrise, but we managed to follow all the yellow arrows conveniently placed on pavements and walls, and within about 90 minutes we were out of Leon and back into a more rural setting.

The main highlight of today was not the Camino but my new shoes! After nearly 3 weeks of blisters, I decided to take a risk and buy a new pair of shoes. There was always the risk that I would be swapping one set of blisters for another set. I need not have feared. It was like walking in carpet slippers today. I decided before doing the Camino, to use a high quality pair of leather walking boots because I thought they would give stability to my ankles and keep my feet dry. In reality, I think the rubber vibram soles have been too inflexible and have been a significant contributory factor to my sore feet. It has come as quite a surprise as I have walked regularly in these boots in Scotland for over one year in complete comfort and without a single blister. In truth, the Camino over the last 3 weeks has been a very sharp learning curve. I have learnt so much about how my body responds under physical pressure. In many respects, I feel that I am now beginning to get into my stride!

I am staying in a beautiful private albergue in Villavante tonight. The evening is sunny and the village is no more than a few houses surrounded by fields. We are very much back into the countryside after the city experience of yesterday.

The procession last night in Leon was pretty amazing. Semana Santa ( Holy Week) is a massive time in Spain, with towns and cities across the country having major processions every  day. The events are covered live on TV and make the headlines every morning. I will take in the whole experience over the week, and write about it later.

It’s been very sad to read about the fire at a Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Yesterday, I did a tour of Leon Cathedral, another Gothic building which was constructed around the same time as Notre Dame. It’s amazing to think of these buildings standing for over 800 years and witnessing so much change over the centuries. It’s good to hear that Notre Dame will restored. It will be a massive undertaking lasting many years.

After nearly a week of walking across very flat plains on dead straight paths, we begin to climb again tomorrow, going even higher on Thursday.

Duncan Camino 79

Duncan Camino 78

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