Day 23, Leon to Vilar de Mazarife

What a wonderful start to our day!    Lisa purchased fabulous pastries for us, and a kettle and a Nespresso machine topped us up with caffeine! It’s pretty novel to start the day with breakfast in our stomach!!! And we slept in until 6, so our start wasn’t until 7:15… How decadent!

We walked by the glorious cathedral as the rising sun highlighted it’s incredible edifice! It has struck me over the past day that the cathedral in Burgos was a monument to what man can create to celebrate God if money is no object, but the design and artistry of Leon’s cathedral demonstrated God’s hand in the mastery of the artisans who worshiped through their craft and contributed to this transcendent space.  It truly is a breathtaking space!

On we went until we reached the river and the famous Parador Hotel (see The Way, with Martin Sheen)


This beautiful building was once a pilgrim hospital during the Middle Ages… Now it’s a fully booked, unaffordable stay for almost all pilgrims!

Our next interesting sighting as we walked out of town was a man who had come from Argentina to Santiago with his  horse… Pretty amazing feat!

Soon we were saying farewell to Leon.


Passing out of Leon, it was clear that we once again crossed the border into middle earth…makes sense that the pilgrim statue here would look more like a hobbit than a pilgrim, but that just adds to the story!

The landscape has changed again today… From city outskirts to gentle rolling hills and farmland.. Today we started with just the three of us ( but a powerful three are we!) My heart always is renewed when I see a field of poppies, and today was no disappointment!

 After a couple of hours, and of course another coffee, we ran into a Brazilian man, Renate whom I had met earlier in the walk.  Renate was walking the Camino at quite a pace, rarely taking breaks for food until a few days ago he tripped on a curb while eating a banana and sprained his ankle!  Time to slow down and be more mindful was his lesson, and today he is walking quite well! We quite enjoyed his company, and his conversation took Dan’s mind off his mild tendinitis and shin splints ( as did the arnica massage he received upon arriving at the Albergue!)

Once checked in, we showered did our laundry and retired to the patio to diaries and conversation!


Suddenly the woman running the Albergue came running in to tell us there was a special mass I think for Santiago Peregrino (namesake of the church), but Dan thought it was for San Isadore(might be the patron saint of the village)… Whatever, there was a grand parade of the saint carried by the townsmen, and followed by the rest of the townsfolk… Quite interesting!

  Apparently  there is a feast of Sardine sandwiches and wine in the town square… Not that that doesn’t sound appealing, but I don’t think my feet will take much more standing!!! Tomorrow we want to walk 31 k to Astorga, so it will be an early night, and perhaps a pilgrims menu here… And yes, we will be sending our bags ahead again ( I’m applying the rule of 30… When I golf and the temp is over 30C, I ride the cart… For the rest of the trip if our walk is greater than 30 k, we will send our bags ahead, and save of feet for another day!)
Tonight we are being joined by Richard from London ( but born in Istanbul).  A very interesting man who is completing the Camino for the second time in 3 years! Renate also joined us… A fascinating meal all round!

An early morning tomorrow, so I bid you goodbye until tomorrow!

Categories: Camino De Santiago


  1. More stretching for Dan! I used to get shin splints when cross country running. Coach always said “STRETCH” She was an Olympian and said more stretching would help relieve the pain.
    Hang in there Dan!


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