Camino de Santiago, Day 21
León (Rest Day)
This article is the eighteenth in our series of walking 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago with my husband Scott. Some articles will be only about one day of walking, and some may include a few days of walking, for the lengths will vary. To begin with the first article click here.
Waking up late in the morning of Day 21 was the best thing ever. No scrambling to be out on the trail before the sunrise. We slept in and were happy to have a rest day in León, as we waited for our friends from home to arrive.
It was so nice to enjoy a long, leisurely breakfast at our hotel. I think we drank three cups of coffee each! I noticed as we were sitting at the breakfast table, that I had several welts or bites on my arms and neck. Scott pointed one out on my forehead as well. Soon, I was itching like crazy.
We walked to the nearby pharmacy and bought antihistamine. I had given mine away to a fellow pilgrim earlier on the Camino. It seems to help relieve the itch, but didn’t stop my mind from going crazy and worrying they were bites from bedbugs.
We checked our bed again, and there were no signs or remnants of bedbugs. I had pre-treated our gear with Permethrin Sawyer Products SP657 Premium Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Trigger Spray, 24-Ounce (Spray Bottle Color May Vary) before leaving home, and hoped for the best.
Santa Maria de León Cathedral
Scott and I paid the small admission fee and picked up a handheld device for our audio tour of the cathedral. The Santa Maria de León Cathedral was stunning with its 1800 square meters of stained glass windows. We were in awe of the cathedral’s history, being built in the 13th Century in the Gothic Style. It was amazing to think of all the people who had come before us and spent time in the cathedral.
We roamed the rooms looking at all the small details. Our favorite part was the stained glass windows, as they were so intricate.
After our tour of the cathedral, we slowly walked the town, listening to small bands of live music. We came upon an event which was just beginning: a wine tasting, with all local vineyards. Yay for us! Back home in California, we love wine tasting, so this was the perfect event for us.
We bought a pass, which included several tastings and a glass. Then we made our way around the portable tasting bars. It was fun meeting some local people who were in town for the festival. They were excited to hear about our pilgrimage to Santiago.
At 2:00 p.m. the event closed for siesta time. We were shocked as they closed up the wine bars and everyone left. Feeling a bit tired ourselves, we went to our new room at the hostel to rest.
Blythe and Jenn
At around 4:00 p.m. we went to the plaza in front of the cathedral to wait for our friends arrival. I was feeling nervous we would somehow miss each other. A few minutes later, there they were! They had made their flights and bus rides, and were finally in León.
We took them straight to our hostel to drop off their packs and rest a bit. I showed them my miserable feet, which were finally healing up. Although, I suspected one toe could have a stress fracture and two toes were numb. I was showing them what they had to look forward to as they would be walking the next two weeks.
I gave them Camino bracelets with little arrows, and we gave Jenn her birthday gifts as well. It was fun to catch up on life with our friends.
Eventually, we set out to find some food and show them part of the city.
We enjoyed tapas and wine in one of the plazas and caught up on stories of life from back home.
We told Blythe and Jenn about how much fun we had at the wine tasting event earlier in the day. It was opening again soon, and they were up for sampling some wine!
We spent hours at the wine event with our friends. There were plenty of different growers and we were able to talk with some of the winemakers. Blythe especially loved one wine and bought a 3 euro bottle to take along on the Camino. The price was so low, and the wine so good she couldn’t believe the price. Little did she know, wine was plentiful, cheap and delicious all along the Camino de Santiago.
After a while, we had to stop and think about food. We had yet to have a big meal and we needed something to absorb all the wine.
We decided to go back to the Italian Restaurant we had enjoyed so much the night before. It was getting chilly so we stepped inside and were seated. The smells coming from the kitchen were making our mouths water. We enjoyed another delicious, leisurely meal, and made our way out the door at 11:30 p.m.
As we walked out, we were surprised to see the entire plaza packed with people. There was a light show going on which was covering the entire front side of the Basílica de San Isidoro. You never know what festival days will bring, and this was an awesome way to end Day 21 on the Camino.
León rest day