Leon to Sahagun and back to Leon
Today started really early. I ran into a bicyclist yesterday who told me that I could assuredly get the bike onto the 7:00am train, and almost certainly not on the later train. He was right, but it got me going really early. 30 minute ride to Sahagun, then a coffee and then off riding. It’s amazing that as you get older the ergonomics of things matter much more than performance numbers. The bike unfortunately had handle bars lower than where I needed the seat to be. That put a terrific strain on my neck. Somehow, though, the miles cranked out, 70km/43miles, and I was back in Leon around 2:00pm, very sore. Luckily last trip I’d located a bike shop and they had the needed handle bar riser. I called Tournride, and it turned out this shop was one of there partners, so no charge for the whole thing. We’ll see tomorrow how that goes. Met lot’s of pilgrims, as with the bike I don’t feel in any great rush. The nice thing is the downhills allow you to just cruise, sometimes at a pretty good pace. Today was still the meseta, the flat wheat fields, kind of bleak and long distance between towns, so the bike was good for the job. For the foodies, I had lunch on the cathedral square yesterday, 3 courses including lots of roast lamb, and wine included, 17Euros! Nice….
Title: Seattle to Leon
2:00am, Woke up in the dark, took a minute or two to figure out where I was. I’m sure every traveler has those moments, and I know that every Pilgrims does. You wake up and try to remember where you are and what the layout of the room is. Then, there’s the moment of “what am I doing?” Why did I sign up for this when I could be safely at home? Those are things that each pilgrim will have to figure out for themselves. And, in a way we are all pilgrims, whether or not we realize it. I wonder about those things every day, but sometimes I think that this traveling and exploring is done not only to encourage other people to do it, but, also so that those who just can’t can feel as though they are along for the journey. Side note, apparently 54,000 people got compostelas in August, this means that they walked the last 100kms of the Camino. (therefore, there were probably more people out there in total) The attraction to a simple existence seems to be growing. Friday Sept. 4th, I left Seattle, with an easy flight to Amsterdam, although we left an hour late, we landed on time. Thankfully as I had a 53 minute connection to my flight to Madrid. Made it in time, but with almost immediate boarding. Was pleased that I had no problem boarding with my 48L pack, which is technically a little too big for carry on. I was able to pick up an additional SIM card from the Lebara people and then use my long distance ticket to get a free Cercancias ticket to the main station. (Download RENFE app to phone, follow RENFE signs, not Metro, in T4.) Arrived back in lovely Leon after mildly delayed train ride. It’s hard to explain to people in the USA just how great a good train system is, I won’t try. Leon has a great river promenade, and then a wonderful old town largely devoid of cars, with many cafes and restaurants. Almost all have tables in the street, and in the evening thousands of people are out and about visiting and eating. The normal procedure is to order a glass of wine, usually its pretty good, but small by American standards. With that comes a small munchy “tapas” and all is typically 2 euros. After a good hot shower, did the tapas circuit, and used my Spanish cell phone to call the local tango. The once or twice a month dance was happening, and they were super friendly and hospitable. Managed to dance quite a few tandas before returning to the hotel to sleep. Then the 2:00am wake up, jetlag kicks in. Bicycle was delivered in a big bike box, and I put the pedals on and straightened the handle bars. I think it’s going to be a challenge to distribute all of the stuff I brought with me onto the bike, but I’m sure I’ll figure out something. Tomorrow, the plan is to take the bike on the train and return to Sahagun where I left off walking and then bike back to Leon. About 64km. Today managed to catch a tour of the Parador of Leon, well known from the the movie “The Way.” Beautiful, sunny and about 65 degrees out so far.