Day 18: Arcahueja to Virgen del Camino

Day 17: El Burgo Ranero to Arcahueja

Maybe it’s the bad weather. Maybe it’s the monotony of the Meseta. Maybe it’s the chronic fatigue and exertion. Maybe it’s two days of walking along a busy road, a lot of which has looked like this (or worse)…

Day 17: El Burgo Ranero to Arcahueja

Or maybe it’s all of the above. Whatever it is, the last two days have not been my best.

Yesterday, I was exhausted when I got to my albergue. Spots on the mattress, a potential sign of bedbugs, nearly sent me over the edge. But with 5 miles to walk to the next town (and assurances from the owner that they had recently fumigated), I picked another bed, put my backpack in a garbage bag, and crossed my fingers.

I had two choices today: 15 km (about 10 miles) or 30 km (about 20 miles). I opted for 15 and spent a good chunk of the day in Leon, where I visited the Santa Maria de Leon Cathedral, also known as The House of Light. Construction of this gothic masterpiece began in the 13th century, on the ruins of a palace dating to the 10th century, which was constructed on top of Roman baths from the 2nd century.

Leon Cathedral

The church is renowned for its spectacular stained glass (over 19,375 square feet of it). Even on this grey day, the soaring walls of the cathedral seemed to glow from every angle.

Stained Glass - Leon Cathedral

Stained Glass - Leon Cathedral

Stained Glass - Leon Cathedral

The walnut carvings of the choir stalls, some of the oldest in Spain, depict many biblical figures. They are intricate and beautifully worked.

Leon Cathedral Choir

I have visited many churches throughout Europe over the last almost 20 years. And this is definitely up there with some of the most lovely.

While in Leon, I also checked out Casa Botines, designed by Gaudi.

Casa de Botines - Leon

I was surprised by how tame it was when compared to some of his other works, like Casa Batlló and La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, which we visited a few weeks ago.

Casa Batllo - Barcelona

Sagrada Familia Towers

Sagrada Familia

And I finally got a chance to try Churros con Chocolate, which is basically like a funnel cake dipped in liquid chocolate. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, and I felt a little gross after eating what amounted to a bunch of oily bread.

Churros con Chocolate - Leon

Even though the walk was short, I was more than ready to get out of the incessant rain that fell nearly all day. But I have faith that there are brighter days on the horizon.

Pilgrim Sculpture - Leon

Today I walked 10 miles.

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Day 18: Arcahueja to Virgen del Camino

  1. Alvaro

    “Siempre que llueve escampa” (Whenever it rains stops raining) it´s a spanish saying, Erin. I hope that will be true! You’ve seen the “Nuestra Señora del Camino” Sanctuary (Our Lady of the Way), I would like to know your opinion on this religious contemporary building. What a pitty! I would like visit Saint Isidoro´s Abbey with you, because is a jewel of Romanesque building, with many treasures like “The Royal Pantheon” containing some tombs of the Kings of Leon, and wonderful coloured wall paintings of the twelfth century (you can see it in and finally in its museum there is the holy grail of Queen Urraca.
    Buen camino!


  2. Tom Madden

    The photos are once again fantastic. I’m glad you took part of the day to take in some sites.
    maybe you’ll be refreshed tomorrow and can continue your blistering (no pun intended) pace. Looking real forward to seeing you in the morning. Love, Dad


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