Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Day 24 - 16 May - Leon to Vilar de Mazarife

As Lena Zavaroni famously sang:

Ya, ya, he’s making eyes at me                              

Ya, ya, he’s waving a plaster at me                        

Ya, ya, he’s got his foot in my lap                         

Donner und blitzen, that’s a blister needin’ fixing

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Our apartment in Leon has been easily our best accommodation of the Camino but part we must. This five hundred mile Camino won’t walk itself.

We set off around eight o’clock and found a nice bar serving coffee and churros just a few minutes later. Suitably caffeined, we started walking out of the city. The grandeur of the city centre soon gave way to the suburbs which in turn gave way to a pathway through and past industrial estates and then the dormitory town of La Virgen Del Camino. Pretty it wasn’t but Leon’s hospitality of the previous afternoon had already allowed me to forgive its drab outskirts.

The main Camino route beyond La Virgen Del Camino pretty much tracks the busy N-120 road which we didn’t really fancy so we had elected to take the scenic option to Vilar de Mazarife, our destination for the night. It wasn’t spectacular but infinitely better than tracking the road and we walked past fields of crops, the occasional subterranean building (where the half rabbit, half human things live) and lots of brilliant red poppies. We enjoyed a coffee break at Oncina de la Valdoncina and another one at Chozas de Abajo before arriving at Vilar de Mazarife, a small village, where we have a twin room in a private albergue. And it is quaint and delightful. Well chuffed.

The weather today has been sunny and pleasantly warm but with a cooling breeze which made for ideal walking conditions. Could we have done more miles? Almost certainly. Do we wish we had done more miles? Yes. And no. Yes because accommodation needs going forward have left us with a twenty mile walk tomorrow. Bloody hell. But no because we have shared a truly international afternoon and evening. Last Saturday night’s Spanish TV was plastered wall to wall Eurovision Song Contest. The Ukranian entry came out on top. Quelle surprise. And now that the Brits have so foolishly departed the EU, the UK entry got the sympathy second place vote. Quelle even more surprise. That was internationalism at its sycophantic, virtue signalling worst. But here in Villar de Mazarife, we had a genuine united nations going on with no pretend enthusiasm and no crap songs . We had Lars and Inger (Sweden). Lars is a dead ringer for American actor John Lithgow who delivered my favourite ever movie line with “Walker, you resilient bastard”, when playing the baddie Eric Qualen in the film Cliffhanger.

Kira (Denmark) is the nice American lady who I slept next to in Ledigos a few nights back. Turns out she’s not a nice American lady, she’s a nice Danish lady. Also we had Igor and Clementina (Italy), Gerhard (Germany), Stanley and Nev (Burma/Myanmar) and Debra, Brenda and Simone (Canada), all breaking bread together and all talking cobblers. The world needs more of this.

Gerhard didn’t speak a word of English but he still got me to stick a Compeed plaster on his foot.

A great day, all washed down with a few beers and a bottle of vino tinto. An early morning start demands an early lights out tonight. Tally ho!

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