We are now in Villadangos del Paramo. Yeah, I know it sounds like a swear word and it could well be as the rocky, dusty, noisy path to here from Leon was all along the side of a busy main road. They have tried to keep pilgrims off the road my creating narrow, stony paths alongside the road - sometimes crossing over, sometimes passing through a tunnel under a spaghetti junction type overpass and sometimes short cutting through overgrown fields. Always the rocks which makes one mutter under one's breath - Villa-dang-gos!
Last night we tried to find a place in Leon to have an early dinner. Now Leon is a lovely city with a wide main boulevard (a la Paris) with shops, sidewalk cafes etc. but - a la Paris - nobody serves meals until after 9pm. We eventually found a Burger-King type place, full of noisy young people, and sat there eating salad and fritas (Anneliese had a burger). We decided to go to bed at about 9pm and asked the receptionist to wake us at 11:30pm. Three sleepy, shivering pilgrims (it is cold in the mornings and during the night) were about the only people - besides the street cleaner with his hosepipe) waiting in the plaza for the stroke of midnight for the magical stained-glass window 'luminair' to begin. The bells rang four times. (To mark the hour). Then a deeper bell rang 12 times. All the streetlights and spotlights on the cathedral switched off. And .... well, nothing really much after that. We couldn't see any lights on behind the rose window or the other stained glass windows in the front of the cathedral so we walked around the side where we could see that there were indeed lights on inside but not enough to show the ground floor windows or even make much illumination through the upper stained glass windows. It was all rather disappointing. We went back to the hotel at about 12:15am and we were on the road again by 6h30am this morning.
We were the first pilgrims at this refuge and caught the hospitalero as she was leaving. "This is your casa" she said, "until I return at half five." So we chose a bed each, had a shower, washed our clothes and will make a foray into the town to find food. Tomorrow we should walk about 21kms to Santibanez but one guide says that it is 15kms and the other says 20.7kms. If it is 15kms we will continue to the next town 8kms further on. This is day 22 and next week we will meet Finn at Sarria. We can't believe that we only have 2 weeks walking left. We are hoping that the wonderful weather holds - cool in the mornings and evenings but hot during the day - it was 30oC in Leon yesterday.
Will mail again soon,
Love to all
S A M