Day 20 - To Leon

June 16, 2014 - Distance Traveled: 18.6 km -

Since the distance was going to be shorter today, we decided we could get up a little later. We were still on the road by 6:30am. Sergio left half and hour earlier. He is still struggling with shin splints, so it takes him a little longer. It was a chilly morning. Even the brisk walk couldn't chase away the cold. Because we were walking quickly, it was not long before we passed Sergio, and of course he had a smile on his face. He finds such joy in everything he does and discovers here on the Camino.

Though the 18.6 km from Mansilla de las Mulas to Leon was one of our shorter days, it felt like we were walking through centuries. We began the morning in rural Spain, complete with sheep meandering along the path and we would end the day in a far different place.

As we continued to walked with through rural Spain, Amy and I continued a pretty significant conversation we had begun at dinner the night before. It was about God, how we bear his image and what that means in determining how you discern what you are created to do. This lead us to think creatively about ideas of how to build a filter through which we can sift the choices which present themselves to us. One of the gifts of the conversation with Amy is that she was asking about what I plan to write about in the book I will pen at the end of the Camino. I allows me to speak it out loud, and helps me to process it. While we were talking today, it felt as if a chapter was being written.

Leon is a world away from where we started this morning. It is a big city with all the commercialism you would expect from a metropolitan area. The frozen yogurt was a welcomed sight. The Elvis on the far right of the photograph was a bit much. While we had been looking forward to the amenities of the big city, when we arrived it felt uncomfortable, as if we did not completely fit. It wasn't long before we were whispering to one another how we were longing to be in one of the smaller, quieter towns of the Camino.

When we made our way to the Alburgue, guess who was ten people ahead of us in line...Sergio. Apparently, he passed us this morning when we stopped to rest in a cafe. Slow and steady wins the race.

After settling into the albergue, we took our showers and did our laundry. While hanging it out to dry, Emilie and I struck up a conversation with a man from Ireland who had definitely kissed the Blarney stone. He had the gift of gab, but used it well. He describe the Camino as a fast flowing river where you can either let the current carry you or you can fight against it. "It feel as if it is carrying us all" he said. Today, not fighting against the Camino looks like enjoying Leon.

The new face standing against the wall is Rolando. We had met him the day before on the way to Mansilla de las Mulas and he is quickly becoming part of our tribe. He is originally from Cuba, but came to the USA by boat when his was very young. He had not planned on walking the Camino, but while in Paris he struck up a conversation with a woman who was leaving the next day to start walking. He thought he would join her for a few days. A few days turned into a weeks. What began as a whim is ending up being a journey which will lead him to walk the entire Camino. Conversations while walking are helping us to discover Rolando is a deep thinker and several passages he has shared from his journal has shown us he is a good writer. He is also kind and has a gift of connecting with people. It is good to be walking with him.

One of the amenities we did take advantage of in Leon was a full sized supermarket. It was the largest we had come across and had everything you could ever want. We decided to make good use of this luxury and purchase everything need for a picnic dinner in the park. It was delightful.

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