Day 23 (June 1) Rest and Touring in Leon – (0 miles)
I had breakfast with my dear Camino friend Mickey and then bid her goodbye. She and the rest of our crew were proceeding on their journey, while I am taking the day to experience Leon. I was very sad to see this kind, spiritual woman, my roommate, my walking partner, leave my side, but I know that we will reconnect some day.
One of Mickey’s talents was assigning “trail names” to people she met or saw frequently on the Camino. There was French Man Bun Guy, Cheerful Bearded Boy, Frost & Tip German Lady and Leonardo Decaprio of the Appalachian Trail, among others. I never found out what my name was. Come on Mickey, cough it up. Every time we’d see one of them, Mickey would say, oh, there’s Man Bun again. That tickled me so. Here a few of the characters. You might be able to guess who they are.
After breakfast today, when I sat down to plan my day, I felt a sense of calm. No need to coordinate departure times or rush to meet folks at a destination. Just moving (or not moving) to my own rhythm. Nice to have a day to chill.
Wandering around Leon over the course of the day, I realized that the people are SO committed to the idea of the siesta. Everything, except the restaurants, is closed from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, some places until 5:00. Even the Cathedral of Leon, THE major tourist destination, is closed during that window. Those who aren’t at home napping are just strolling, eating, drinking and enjoying life. If you can’t run errands on your lunch hour, you have to relax. Well … maybe there is one thing you can accomplish. To be sure even this place was closed for siesta, despite the sign. NOT that I was in search of peanut M&Ms!
Today, I decided to skip the big lunch I had yesterday and just eat light. Okay, a burrito from a food cart isn’t really light, but it’s one course instead of three. Afterward, I stumbled upon Rebecca (I swear that girl follows me) … who talked me into going for “real hot chocolate”, pure liquid chocolate that you can stand a spoon up in. It comes with churros for dipping. Ama-ZING!
So now, the dirty secret of the Camino is out, everyone gains weight. When you walk 15-20 miles a day, willpower goes out the window.
I visited the Leon Cathedral. So gothic, so perfectly laid out. My favorite of the Camino so far. I went in to pray and light candles for a special friend, her two daughters ( whom I have loved since they were small children) and her granddaughter and came upon the perfect spot. This statute of the pregnant Mary is a tribute to mothers everywhere, to the great HOPE that is motherhood. I lit candles for them and all the women I love.
I also visited the Museo de San Ignacio, the supposed home of the Holy Grail, the actual cup Jesus used at the Last Supper and a fabulous Gaudi building, Casa de Botines. Traditional on the outside, pure Gaudi quirkiness on the inside.
I just love touring. Better love walking, 20.5 miles tomorrow!