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Damian Corrigan

Day 20: Leon to Villar de Mazarife

By April 11, 2009

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The most obvious sign that Leon isn't particularly welcoming of pilgrims is the difficulty one experiences in leaving the city. After getting some excellent (and cheap) chocolate con churros at the Valor chocolateria, I tried to find the yellow arrows to lead me out of the city. I went to the cathedral, from which my book says there are signs, but I couldn't see them, so I asked around. After one sniggering local sent me in the wrong direction (it was clear he was making fun of me) and another responded to my question with a hostile "Where are you from? Not Spain, right?" before walking away, I eventually found the arrows. To say they are "discreet" is an understatement. Clearly the Leonese don't want their beautiful streets soiled with Camino arrows, but if they could make the signs more easy, I wouldn't need to bother the precious with my tedious questions.

I was now desperate to get out of Leon. My arrow hunt was the latest hurdle in my twenty-four hours in the city. I had been accused of trying to rip off a restaurant, when a waitress suggested I had removed the "1" on the "19.50€ menu deń dia" on the chalk board outside to get myself a cheaper meal. I'd also been told by the albergue staff that, yes, they do have a printer, but, no, I couldn't use it. The reason given? "Because you can't." (I had even offered to pay a euro for a single page.)

You have to walk approximately 7km to get out of Leon. Eventually you reach La Virgen del Camino, where the path splits in two. You can walk directly along the N120, the bane of the pilgrim's existence, or take the 'scenic route' through the unkempt countryside. I chose the country route, and had a pleasant walk through the wilderness, pleased to be putting as much distance as possible between me and Leon. The Camino was quieter than it had been recently, as the Spanish who had been traveling for Easter have now been forced to return home to go back to work, so it was nice to arrive at an almost empty albergue for a quiet night of getting up to date on this blog.

Comments
April 12, 2009 at 12:48 am
(1) kez says:

I don’t think it’s just Leon, The few times that I traveled throughout Spain, from top to bottom I found the same rudeness every where. Just smile and have a nice Camino day…

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