Day 15 Hontanas to Itero de la Vega
This morning we slept in late for the first time, having celebrated Allandes birthday last night. It was nice because our group included Stuart and Kata last night for the meal. We were also the last to leave the albergue for once, which was nice. We walked only a few kms to St Anton where we stopped for some quick breaks in a pilgrim shack in St Anton and a bar in Castrojeriz. We continued on a long steep incline through the messeta in the strong heat before taking a rest at the top and eventually walking further to reach the beginning of Itero de la Vega where we stopped for a cerveza con limón (nothing unusual there). After a few more steps we finally reached an albergue where we decided to spend the night- there wasnt much choice to be fair. Our group of 7 had a dorm for ourselves and planned to make sangria and have dinner for Vicente's last night on the Camino. It was here that I also had the best sandwhich of the camino (still is) made by a lovely lady in the local shop for 2.50. I planned to save half of it for tomorrow but i just couldnt. The dinner that evening was lovely and It was such a nice get together for Vicente who would go back to Madrid tomorrow. It was moments like this that I wish i could capture in a bottle and relive over and over. My gratefulness exceeded every single day.
Day 16 Itero de la Vega to Villarmento 22km
This morning we said goodbye to Vicente who went back to Madrid. We walked for a few kms and left him at the bus stop, a very random one located smack bang in the middle of nowhere. We continued on to Villarmento. Last night we had dinner and homemade sangria for our last night with him which was such a great way to end our time with him. It seemed that people came and left the group at times but its like they were always there but apart from this, the group had mostly stuck together from the beginning. Our group had broken up slightly having left Hyoung Bai, Carolin and Zac behind but we had gained Michael, Christin and Karl who we had known from the beginning. Today we walked a rather easy path and stopped in Boadilla for a coffee and a gigantic croissant and Fromista for some food and breaks, where we ran into Hyuong Bai and Jingi (the koreans). They had planned to stay either in Fromista or a bit further but they ended up walking almost 40km that day due to no availability. They ended up at our amazing hippy albergue which had hammocks, ducks, sheep and a great vibe. We are very close to the city of Léon and almost half way to Santiago. That evening we had the most amazing communal dinner (pic below) and outdoor bonfire. I even did a short yoga practice with the whold group in the garden which was so special, even if i did sit in shit.... Karl loved that one so much, it became a joke for the rest of the camino. This was such a beautiful night with beautiful people.
Day 17 Villarmento to Calzadilla 25km
Last night we had one of our best nights of the Camino where we enjoyed a delicious communal dinner with new friends, did some yoga in the garden and sat by the bonfire drinking beers. Today was a rather easy day. The road was a never ending straight road with no shade and as we left rather late in the morning we walked through some hottest parts of the day with hardly any places to stop in-between. I wont forget the sight of the random shack after walking for so many kms, which was basically a guy with a bbq selling some drinks and playing the coolest tunes- It was heaven. Needless to say, the sight of the village as we peaked over the last hill, was an amazing sight to see but that seemed like the longest road ive walked so far on the camino. I checked in and went straight for the pool. We aimed to sleep early and leave early the next day.
Day 18 Calzadilla to Bercianos 35km
Last night we had a relatively early night but didn't sleep well because the heat of the packed dorm was overwhelming. However we did manage to get up early and set off at 6am to get a head start on the sun. We aimed to get to Sahagun for lunch time and then decide whether to go further to the next town of Bercianos which would make this quite a long day. We had a few breaks along the way and the heat wasn't as bad as some other days. A good playlist and amazing peaceful and beautiful scenery helped the journey go smooth, until the last few Kms when my feet were in excruciating pain and I had shin splints. Needless to say I'm now resting my tired legs now in a gorgeous albergue in Bercianos and I don't Intend to move but on the upside we have officially reached halfway.
Day 19 Bercianos to Mansilla 25km
Today our group split, Karl and Michael going the 47km to Leon and Me, Allande and Christin going the 25km to Mansilla. The road was rather straight and easy today but I'm noticing that pain becomes more and more for me on flat roads. I walked 25km today in excruciating pain in my right shin, which I tried to ignore with good dance music. I walked mostly on the bumpy parts of the gravel path for relief which helped a lot but I'm hoping it doesn't get worse. Luckily I have a rest day in Leon coming up and a reunion with the entire camino gang.
Day 20 Manillas to Leon 18km
Today we took a long leisurely walk to the city of Léon which marks more than half way for us. The feeling we had when spotted the first sight of the city from the hilltops was amazing. Lucky for us there was a breeze and the sun was not so strong, so we had quite an easy day of walking to meet our friends in the city. We reunited, had some drinks and explored the city before enjoying a delicious Chinese buffet that evening. So thankful to be surrounded by such amazing people and looking forward to a rest day tmro finally (which turned into another day of walking severely hungover).
Day 21 Leon to San Martin 25km
So our rest day turned into an unexpected 25km walk to the next town outside of Leon. It was Michael who had woken up and decided to continue on because he had a deadline to get to Santiago. The rest of us had planned to have a deserved rest day and catch up with some others who would catch up soon. After having breakfast, we spontaneously decided to join Michael and walk 25km to the next town. We had all woken up this morning and all had the feeling that the Camino was calling us, so we changed into our hiking clothes last minute in the cafe and off we went. It was a long day, not too hot, but we were ( i definitely was) regretting having drinks/shots the night before and lack of sleep. When we arrived we checked into a cosy hostel, had dinner and chilled in hammocks in the evening. Despite not having a full rest day it was so nice to spend the day and evening in Leon with our Camino friends. What a beautiful city.