Today, I celebrated 20 days on the trail. I crossed 289 miles on the Camino, and I haven’t been in a car in 21 days.
All three are firsts. I spent 19 days on the PCT, and consecutively hiked 266 miles. When I was briefly in the Navy, I went 20 days without riding in a car. So today I exceeded my best in all categories.
It also occurred to me today, when I finish the Camino, I will have hiked over 750 miles since March. Im pretty stoked. Now, I just have to get to Santiago to claim my mileage.
I woke up to my alarm, a rarity lately. I slept almost 10 hours yesterday. The sleep I need seems to be increasing as time goes by. With 11 days left, I am focusing on recovery more than ever. I’m sleeping more, and walking around each town less and less. For the most part, I don’t feel as if I am missing much.
I left the hotel this morning at 6:00am. I was one of the early ones on the trail today. Many of the typical early birds slept in a little since Leon was a short hiking day. On top of the short day, many of the guide books recommended taking a bus into Leon. They indicate there is a long road walk into town. I think this was very misplaced advice. I only encountered 3 miles of walking roads or concrete as I entered the Leon. It was not nearly as challenging as the 7 miles of concrete walked to enter Burgos. Perhaps the trail has changed recently.
The walking was easy and relatively flat with a few small hills. Although, I passed through 3 towns along the way, there were no cafes right on the trail. So I skipped breakfast and headed straight to Leon. I rolled into downtown right at 10 am, and immediately went to a cafe next to the cathedral. T&M took a cab into the city and wandered around, finally making their way into the cathedral. As I was finishing breakfast, they walked over and joined me.
Leon has a large sign you can climb on and have your picture taken. The three of us hopped up there and had a passerby take our picture. After we ran down the thief and took Molli’s phone back, we saw that we took a great picture. (just kidding, a very nice lady took our picture).
As T&M wandered around, they had noticed an American novelty food store. It carried a huge array of American brands. We just had to go in. I bought a diet 7up. Tony and Molli had been craving chips and salsa since we had been in Spain. Sure enough, they had chips and salsa. You would have thought Molli won the lottery. We made our purchases and headed out.
On the way in to town, I saw a McDonalds. We have all been craving American food. Even crappy american food. It was only a mile away, so we walked down to McDonalds, naturally. It was filling, and met the need, but we wont be partaking again anytime soon.
From there, we walked to our hotel for the evening. We had been looking forward to staying in this hotel since our journey began. We are staying in the Parador Martin Sheen stayed in, in the movie “The Way.” It’s a beautiful building and historic building. A nice treat.
After we checked in, I set about planning the rest of my travel to return to Paris and then on to the states. My husband is going to be in Albuquerque for his high school reunion the weekend I get back to the states. He’s driving to Albuquerque to spend a few days then attend his reunion and drive back. I was originally flying back to San Diego, but changed my flight to arrive in Albuquerque. I arrive the day of his reunion and will ride back to San Diego with him on Sunday. You know I can’t turn down a good road trip. Plus I can think of no better way to re-enter normal life.
Molli is still suffering with injury, so they have decided opposed to taking a cab to each stop on the Camino, they are going to bounce ahead and see the things they want to see. So, for the foreseeable future, I will be hiking and lodging alone. I may adjust my plans as well, and double up a day or so to arrive in Santiago earlier. If I make the changes, I can definitely hike to Finisterre. Or if I don’t wish to hike any further, I can take a bus. It was once known as the western most point of the world. And I would have truly hiked across all of Spain if I finish in Finisterre. You can see the draw.
I will definitely miss hiking with T&M but I will also have a touch more freedom with my schedule. By no means have they been restrictive, and I haven’t asked for any changes to what they have planned. I simply will now have the luxury to move at whatever pace I choose. Also there is nothing that says we won’t hike together in a few days. A lot is up in the air at the moment.
I’m very proud of how well Molli is rolling with the punches. Her injury could have easily been a trip ruining experience. They have taken it in stride and made the best of it. Kudos to them!
I still have a third of the Camino left, but it feels likes like it is winding down. Perhaps moving on from the Meseta will reinvigorate me and keep me in the now. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to not think of the future.
But for now, I will enjoy my last night with my bestest traveling companions. We get along famously when we travel. We have had so many great adventures. I look forward to more unique trips with them in the future.