Which film.?

Upon being shadowed by a group of pilgrims who never speed up and never slow down

“who are those guys?”

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The writing is on the wall

The writing is on the wall

Day 20. Leon to Vilar de Mazarife. 22 km

Distance to Santiago : 197 miles

I think all my fellow travellers would accept that we over indulged last night

Perhaps overwhelmed by sensory experiences of a big city with ,like crowds and stuff, we wandered from bar to bar in the Barrio district like slack jawed yokels.

But what a city is Leon. Named after the Roman legion that was based here, the medieval buildings take your breath away. The cathedral has the most beautiful stained glass windows I have ever seen , bathing the place in a soft light

The city also has the best nightlife I have ever seen as well. The best .

You can be sophisticated and sit supping something small in any of the remarkable plazas here.

Or do what we did and head for the Barrio Humedo where the bars are full of good natured locals drinking wine and eating tapas.

It’s the sort of place that in England would soon have tattooed thugs throwing things and punches at each other.

But here there were just bunches of smiley people. Even the stag parties had people playing musical instruments.

But the night’s bacchanalia has taken its toll. The Fellowship of the Ring has been broken

Scottish Alan is still in Leon allegedly taking a “rest day”

Baz the trainee priest has moved on another stage…no mean feat cos it involved an extra 14 km I do hope nobody said anything that upset him

Danish Aaron – the coolest guy on the Camino – seems to have disappeared after the evening meal in Leon (sensible chap )

No one knows what has become of Americans Dan and Kurt but I’m seriously hoping Big Dan got back to his hotel without being arrested….

Which leaves me walking all day with the redoubtable Sinead, the international Ireland hockey player who seems oddly unimpressed with my stories if epic rugby matches between Newark and Mansfield

She’s back on the road after a catalogue of injuries that would have left me taking the first bus out of here long ago. I wouldn’t like her marking me on the pitch. ..

Oh and it also leaves Irish Barbara in the refugio across the road. How she has got this far is beyond me. Another injury victim.

But she is more handicapped by her ability to leave her belongings at every cafe stop along The Way

And we are missing Sandra and Vinny the loveliest , smiliest couple I have ever met. you always feel just a little bit happier after a few moments in their company

So Sinead and I have pitched up in this hostel run by Jesus

It’s ironic really cos there are clearly some Messianic wannabes here.

You can spot them a mile off. Ponytail/long hair. Carefully sculpted beards and a look of serenity in their eyes…

Jesus runs this place (I think) When we arrived he was otherwise employed and his wife had to summon him

She did this by screaming “Haysus ! Haysus! Haysus!!!! Several times and in a tone which suggested that she did not believe he was the son of man

This is one of those hostels frequented by Camino believers who think it is their duty to plaster the walls with “deep” quotations on life and spirituality.

Example” dont lighten the load, just get stronger shoulders”

Eh?

Try carrying my backpack and see where that spirituality takes you…

Or ” we are but energy in a vacume (sic) how does that make you feel ?

Covered in fluff ??

Oh. Not that kind of vacuum ?

“everything is possible if you want. ”

Really? Well I want my employer not to scrap my job. Is that possible then? Thought not

This spiritual stuff is countered by one Brit contribution:
“We are Leeds Marching on the Camino” deep man, deep.

It wouldn’t be so laughable if one didn’t suspect most of the people who spout this nonsense are going on to be corporate lawyers , bankers or business leaders.

Enough “negativity” from me. I’m off for a pilgrim meal. 3 courses with wine for 9 euros according to the sign outside the pub

Now there’s a message I can believe in.

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Where the Buzzards fly

Day 19

Somewhere to Leon.
Distance 18 km

Yeah I know what you’re thinking

18 km. that’s nothing right? Anyone can walk 18 km.

Well trying walking it in 35 degrees with a cognac-induced hangover that was threatening to reduce me to a Roland-esque state of cranial implosion

Guys – he was the medieval warrior who died from ruptured temples. I mentioned him 19 days ago? Oh do keep up …

So there I am walking down the Camino which in this section involved walking alongside a long stretch of main road

I’m doing something – anything- to take away the pain inside my head. So I start singing. I am not a good singer.

I was almost past the front porch of a decaying house when I noticed an aged Señora watching me with undisguised contempt.

She put her fingers in her ears. And said something that sounded like

“ay ay ay …, non non non”

Which I can’t help thinking may have been a slight criticism

So today i met and walked for 3 hours with a kid I suspect may end running her country Or possibly another

Her name is Asia (oddly a corruption of Joanna) and she is Polish

21 years old, tiny and shouldering a back pack almost as big as her

Some “old guy about 50” (thanks Asia) had just tried to get her into his car so I’d like to think she was happy to walk with me. But I think she is tough enough to sort out problems on her own.,

But Lord she looks young. About 15 . I find myself worrying about these kids. But I think Asia will be ok

She was certainly lecturing me about the Camino and what i could get out of it. She even told me off when she thought I wasn’t paying attention. Which I was

She is very philosophical. Very positive

True to form I wasnt having much of that but she didn’t mind

We saw two buzzards circling over the nests of swifts. And they were being dive bombed by the swifts as they tried to protect their young

“This is a metaphor for life,” says little Asia

“Eh?”says me

“yes… Conflict and fighting between ourselves ..”

I was just about to say what a load if bollocks when she burst out laughing

I don’t know what Polish is for a wind up but thats what it was

“i say this just for you” laughed this amazing kid.

Another person who makes the Camino.such a humbling experience

She headed to a hostel which charged 5 euros a night I’m writing this outside a hotel in Leon which – ahem charges a bit more than that

So here I am. 0200 am. This city is heaving. Just had my photo taken with a hen party dressed as sailors. May post that as long as my wife sees the funny side….entirely innocent J honestly x

Will post more on Leon tomorrow

Oh my room no is 101. The receptionist didn’t get it when I asked if there were rats there….

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