Stage 19: Leon to Villadangos del Paramo

30 Sep 2019

I departed Leon at day break into 48 F, dry, cloudy, on a 21 Km walk. Had to go through 8 Kms of Leon industrial zone just to get out of town; not sorry to see Leon in the rearview mirror (so to speak).

This realization struck me as I walked this morning: instead of thinking “I just have to get through three more weeks”, all of a sudden I was thinking “there are only three weeks left, how lucky I have been to be able to do this”. They say the second part of the Camino is mental.

Most the morning was overcast as the trail wandered through fields and alongside the N-120 two-laner.

Eventually, the sky cleared and large, puffy clouds remained, along with a view of the mountain range I’d be climbing through in the next week.

My general walking routine, if possible, is to walk for an hour or so, then stop, get coffee con leche and remove my boots, do a little foot massage, and start walking again after 10 minutes.

Then I try to go on until my halfway point, where I stop, stock up on a sandwich and fruit for lunch later (if necessary), get off my feet for 15-20 minutes, and change my socks. The sweaty socks are hung off the back of my pack to dry. At the 3/4 point, I rest again and get the boots off for 10 minutes. Seems to work well, but is dependent on the stage easily being broken into thirds or fourths and there being places to sit down. I’ve had to be creative at times.

At one albergue-cum-truck stop today they had a scale available. In my stocking feet, I weighed in at 95kg = 209lbs. Really!? It’s probably not that accurate, but if it is, I’ve lost around 25 pounds on my Camino.

Villadangos is a one-horse town with a lot of trucks barreling through it. I stayed in the Hostal Libertad, which featured a lot of older men in the bar, aka The Fly Cafe, for scheduled afternoon card games. Town population: 1100. The albergue facilities were OK, nothing special. I did manage to have my favorite late lunch:

You may remember that we pilgrims carry a credencial or “pilgrim passport” and we get it stamped along our walk. Here’s what my credencial looks like now:

My feet seem to be fully healed and it feels like my whole body has finally adjusted and become stronger, and is now ready to move ahead on my walk. The first few weeks, physically, were a shock, indeed, but it’s great to have rebounded and not have that as a concern now.

The concern tomorrow may be rain.

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