While planning for the French Way of the Camino de Santiago, the 500 miles or 800 kilometers can be a little misleading. It really depends how far, and how often, someone ventures off the Camino. This can be walking a few blocks for shopping, or to see a church or another landmark. Maybe a hundred yards each way to see a winery, or a bar that is situated off the Camino. On my twelfth day, for example, a mistaken venture to the municipal albergue in León, additional sightseeing, and backtracking added at least five kilometers.
Extra walking is an important part of the journey. I would imagine, on the average Camino, an extra 20 to 30 kilometers can be added to the total. However, it’s something I don’t believe many pilgrims realize before they start. I certainly didn’t until I was a few days into my journey. All the extra kilometers or miles, especially with a backpack, can lead to increased tiredness, and, at worst, injury. Because maintaining energy is important, additional walking should be at least considered when planning your days. When I was tired, or concerned about my energy, I rarely ventured far from the Camino for anything that I didn’t consider important.
Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago in León, Castilla y León. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons).
On my last post, Oh, Oh! I’m Off The Camino de Santiago in León, Spain, I had just arrived back onto the Camino after my extra walking from the albergue. I wrote on page 129, “I had missed at least two kilometers of the Camino and proceeded to walk back. When I made it to the junction, as expected, I found yellow arrows that led both ways. I never thought it would have been so easy to go off course, but it wasn’t all bad. I had seen a part of León I never would have otherwise.”
This plaza was very quiet in the rain.
The 11th century Basílica de San Isidoro. I walked around the entire church, but sadly, it was closed.
My close-up photo of the lion’s head on this delightful sculpture wasn’t clear, but the crest below was a little better. I enjoyed many of the sculptures and art pieces along the Camino. Some were magnificent.
After backtracking to the spot where I had originally left the Camino, I walked back to the old city of León, and headed toward the cathedral.
The downpour continued as I reached the Plaza Regla and the León Cathedral. The cathedral was built on former Roman baths, and this is actually the fourth church built here. Construction of the current building began in the early 13th century and continued until the 15th. Problems with the construction and unstable ground proved too much, and a major restoration was undertaken in the 19th century. For more information on the León Cathedral, please visit the Spanish Wikipedia page (I use Google Chrome to translate). Please also check out the cathedral’s official website.
With the heavy rain, I had trouble taking photos of the cathedral and remember even seeking shelter under a building’s overhang across the plaza to prevent the camera lens from getting wet.
By the time I arrived to the cathedral, it was late in the day, and I was dead tired. I looked around the interior rather quickly and didn’t take many photos. One day, I hope to return as a tourist, and spend more time there.
The Plaza Isidoro was quiet in the rain.
The 11th century Basílica de San Isidoro.
This is the Instituto Bíblico y Oriental which has studies for the eastern Bible. Thanks to Felipe for pointing this out.
Another of my favorite pieces of art in León.
After my dinner, I had a pleasant walk through León, looking at architecture and art. It was becoming late though, and there was so much to see. I was amazed when I arrived at the Plaza San Marcos.
I will leave this post here at the Plaza San Marcos. On my next post, ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO IN SPAIN, LEON TO LA VIRGEN DEL CAMINO, I’ll continue through León, hoping to arrive at my destination of La Virgen del Camino before dark. Please join me.
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