Camino de Santiago – Day 16
Walked from: Calzadilla de los Hermanillos
Walked to: León
Date: 17 October 2017
Turns out there’s a simple way to deal with finding walking on the Camino de Santiago quite easy: walk further in one day than you’ve ever walked before in your life. In fact, by the time I finished my walking day and walked into town and back for dinner, I hadn’t just walked the 45km / two ‘normal person’ stages… I’d clocked up a whopping 48.9km. Bonkers is an overused word, but in this case…
I hadn’t planned on walking that far when I went to sleep last night, or even when I started walking at stupid o’clock because I got woken up by two excessively early risers (dude, you may like to start walking at 5.30am, but – newsflash – not all of us want to be woken up at 4.45am because of your weird walking peccadillos). Still, walk early I did, and it took 25km on a track that dates back to the Romans (much of it trod in the dark) to find anywhere open for breakfast.
By the time I turned up at a delicious pastry cafe in the small town of Mansilla de las Mulas, it was just 10.20am and I’d already walked the suggested ‘stage’ for that day. León and a beautiful hotel I’ve stayed in before was a tantalising 20km away, and as none of the hostels on the way in (all in León’s less than attractive urban dormitory town sprawl) would open their doors to me until 1.30pm, and as heavy rain was forecast for tomorrow, it make sense to go for it and then give myself a day off the trail.
Funny thing is, it was alright. I think the fact that I knew I was walking to a room in a beautiful hotel with my very own bathtub in it was a great motivator (and it was one of my all time greatest baths), but the truth is that this stretch of the Camino is so flat and straightforward to follow that it’s much easier than many shorter walks in the UK. Plus, León is a truly lovely city, and suddenly today felt like autumn – with the colour palette to match.