Day 24 (to Vilar de Mazarife): At The Viking Place

I left the albergue to  …  

2014-04-27 07.27.25
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… a pretty chilly morning. Right in front of the albergue a guy is sleeping with his dog, wrapped in sleeping bag and blankets. Pilgrims travelling with a dog have to improvise, because in most cases dogs aren’t allowed inside.
A Spanish speaking peregrina helps with breakfast, and an Italian with whom she spoke in Italian compliments her on how well she speaks his language … “that’s because I’m Italian” … says she.

One good thing that came out of yesterday’s wanderings around Leon is that I know my way out of the city. The question is … is there a shortcut. At the corner next to Gaudi building two Frenchwomen are debating the right direction. I convince them to follow me in discovering a shortcut … and sure enough here are the yellow arrows, right on cue.

As the Camino leaves the city I come across a former Pilgrim guesthouse/hospital … this one is now a 5 star hotel, go figure.
After a long walk out of Leon, just ahead of some industrial zone I come across a Hobbit village … or at least something very similar to one. At closer look, these houses appear to have been used to dry meat as well as wine cellars.

Quicker than I thought, I reached a town called Virgen de Camino and decided to stop for breakfast in a small bar. The boss lady is sitting in the corner and while handling some paperwork simultaneously keep track of who ordered what, how much is it, has the guest been waiting long … amazing. Keith and Matt soon join me. A new pilgrim shows up at the bar, Joana from Poland with a slight problem … she is looking to get a credential.She arrived at Leon early in the morning and didn’t get it there. The boss lady explains that every albergue will take her (technically you need a credential to stay at the albergue) until she finds the one that issues credentials … in the meantime she can collect stamps in a notebook.

As I leave this town I missed the Camino route … again … almost ending up on the highway. Back at the correct route, I hit on another fork on the Way. Let’s see … left or right … right follows the highway and the left is a more scenic path … Left it is, even if slightly longer.
The path goes through several small villages. To my amazement my pace has improved, so much so that I actually … gasp … manage to overtake few Spanish pilgrims ahead.

At 13.40 I arrived at Villar de Mazarife and parked myself at albergue Jesus, together with Jan and Joana. Besides its name this albergue is also interesting for a bunch of drawings and scribblings all over its walls. Outside in the courtyard, near the (covered) pool is a almost a full-sized model of a Viking ship.

Ray drops by a bit later as well as first Japanese pilgrims I’ve seen so far.
Since this place follows the dinner schedule custom I stroll down the street in search of store. The small square features two of them, both closed because its siesta time. I settle on the nearby bench until 16:30 until the first one opens.

Back at the albergue, as I improvise lunch TV on the wall is playing an America movie dubbed in Spanish, with the help of Wikipedia I manage to follow the plot.
At the table nearby a Korean girl is writing a diary in classical style … with pen and paper.

After a dinner with Ray and Bertholt from Germany I retire to my quarters.

That was day no. 24.

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