Spain day 14 Calzadillos – León
After morning stretch of super straight 17km before any hint of life….roman roads for you i caught up with the less scenic ´senda´ that i had deviated away from yesterday. Had bit of trouble with direction and new water channel this morning but i went with my instincts leaving two french guys walking off the other way and trying to tell me i was going the wrong way….later they caught up with me having realised the error of their way and retraced. This happens a few times but i always trust the map(foolhardy really)/ the arrows/ my instincts/ the sun?? and it always works to the good (so far). Down the hill to Mansillas de las Mulas i saw Tall Danish guy striding across the ridge shouting something along the lines of ´No, it´s this way´. But i was happy in my choice. That was the last time i saw him for a very long time.
Caught up with Hot Spanish guy again and was most disapointed that he was waiting by a bus stop with his small group. I had intended to stop in this town but it was not very nice, just a main road really so thought i would carry on til the next albergue but after seeing this was more determined to break my knees by walking on the whole way to León just to prove that it could be done without resorting to jumping on the bus. So, telling myself that i should stop as it had been quite a long day and i was tired, of course that was not what i did but strode on past the last albergue before León leaving myself no option but to walk on into the city – pig headed comes to mind. Boots now really giving up on me, full of red dust which had become a layer of red mud coating my sweaty socks…not ideal. Arriving in León i was overjoyed to see the French couple standing on a corner fiddling with a street map. After much salutation and shoulder patting i gleaned in my slightly improving french (since i met them at least) that there was indeed room at the inn….well, the convent. Signing in the hospitalero asked were i had set off from and tried to suggest i was slightly ´tonto´(a fool) for walking so far. I had to agree.
Went in search of new boots and despite very helpful woman disapearing off down the street for 10 minutes before returning laden with shoe boxes….the cheapest everyone had in my size, the price was still not encouraging. Later i did manage to find 30euro pair which i prayed would stay the distance. Wandering around the convent grounds (which had the required presence of nuns for authenticity) trying to break in my new boots in the space of 30minutes i saw a prone figure on the ground in the dusk doing some kind of execises…lo and behold it was CrazyFrench whom i hadn´t seen for a while. He once again offered me supplies from his camino larder, should i be in need of bread, cheese, salami all i had to do was say the word.
Getting into bed, i noticed Hot Spanish guy´s friend in the laundry room and then realised that the dorms were seperate for men and women. It seems strangely inconsistent that in some places it is wholly inappropriate for men and women to share the same dormitory and yet in others bunks are pushed together so you are, in effect, as good as sharing a double bed with a complete stranger who may be male/ female/ young/ old/fidgety etc, and in still others it is deemed perfectly acceptable for men and women to be sharing the same showers which, depending on the bathroom architect, can be quite a challenge for your modesty. Still, we are all pilgrims together and to be honest, generally you are so tired none of it is of any consequence…..except perhaps the fidgeter.