June 17, 2014 - Distance Traveled: 22.2 km -
As my daughter would say, we walked out of Leon like a boss. The sun was just rising and we enjoyed the cool of the morning as we made our way through the big city and back into rural Spain. The Kiwis had originally thought they would take a rest day in Leon, but the sensory overload of the urban area and the fact they could not bear to break up our Camino family just yet kept them walking. Sergio was back at the albergue. Because of his shin splints, he was planning on taking extra time to massage his legs. He intended to catch up with us in the afternoon.
This new face is Allison. We met her as she was checking in to the albergue as we were heading out for our picnic dinner. She had just arrived in Leon and would begin her Camino from here. We had invited her to come eat with us, but the albergue was full and they were taking their time finding her a place to lay her head. She insisted we go ahead. Instead of joining us for dinner, she agreed to meet us this morning and share her first day on the Camino with us. She is from Canada. All those rumors about Canadians being polite and nice certainly seemed to be confirmed by Allison. In fact, when we stopped to take this photo and she immediately volunteered to snap the shot It did not take very long today to also discover she is also bright, intelligent, creative, and easy to walk with. I don’t know how being dropped into our group feels to her, but if the first day is any indication, she will fit right in. I am grateful she she too the risk.
The walk out If the city was a long one, nearly an hour and a half before we had any glimpse of a field. We stopped to have one last cafe con leche before we headed into the wheat field and exited the city. We decided the day before to take an alternative route which would add a few extra kilometers over the next few days, but which would also allow us to avoid walking alongside the interstate for long stretches. The pace was easier than the most of the days on the Masada.
Several times we jockeyed between conversational partners as we walked. One question we bantered about was, "If you could bottle and relive any time in your life, what would it be?" My answer was to go back and relive the night I met my wife and we talked all night long. The thought of it made me miss her.
It was a good thing for me that Sergio got a late start since I left my shirt behind. No wonder my pack felt lighter today. Sergio missed the turnoff for the alternative route and is in town on the regular route. We should meet up tomorrow in Astorga.
We stayed in the Albergue Casa de Jesús in Mazarife. The table for dinner. You can see our laundry drying in the background and yes that is a pirate ship in the far corner of the compound. It is now confirmed, there are pirates this far from the sea. There isn’t any lake or large river nearby. I am guessing they are preparing for the next big flood.
This albergue allowed pilgrims to write quotes on their walls. One of my favorites was by Miles Kington, “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” I wrote, "The only thing which counts is faith expressing it self with love." which is my life verse. Honestly, it feel like I am getting the opportunity to live this out each day, as I walk with these people.