When I entered Puente Castro, a suburb of León on the southeast side, two men stared at me from a street corner about fifty meters ahead… One of them, a balding man in his 40’s, leaped on the road and walked toward me. I quickly moved back onto the sidewalk but he changed course, and approached me with his right arm extended to shake my hand. He said something in Spanish, but I walked around him as fast as I could. I’m sure he only wanted money and was most likely harmless, but for a moment, I felt threatened. It was the first such encounter so far on the Camino, so I couldn’t complain much… From Page 128, Camino De Santiago In 20 Days.
Up until this point on the Camino de Santiago, I had walked well over 400 kilometers, and much of it alone. Never had I been threatened by anyone, and I was actually pleasantly surprised how safe I felt walking through Spain. Sure there were a few unscrupulous-looking characters in the larger centers, but it was not unlike any other city. In fact, I have been far more worried in cities in other countries.
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).
I left my last post, On The Camino de Santiago in Spain, El Burgo Ranero to León, looking toward the city from an elaborate pedestrian bridge over the freeway.
From the hill to the left of the previous photo, this was the view of the city.
I descended and entered the suburb of Puente Castro. I was surprised how quiet the streets were.
The sidewalk on the left was where the aforementioned man approached me for money.
The Iglesia de San Pedro in Puente Castro.
I wish I had a better photo of the stork nest on top of the bell gable. I really don’t know how it stayed in place.
These sidewalk markers through Puente Castro showed The Way.
This long bridge was typical of many in this part of Spain. Often, much of the span was over parkland or fields. On the left, there was a sign for the Mercadona. I looked forward to visiting my favorite supermarket, assuming I could find it.
As I wrote on page 128, “I always thought the origins of the city name, León, referred to a lion but was surprised to learn it was derived from the Latin word “Legio,” meaning legion. León was once part of the Seventh Legion of Roman soldiers that guarded the city. In the first century, León was a major center for the gold trade…” The bridge was for vehicles only, but I did walk up and take photos of these lions with their evil or devious expressions.
The narrow surface had barely enough room for two vehicles.
I crossed the Río Torio on a pedestrian-only bridge, and looked back at the main one.
These ruins were on the other side of the bridge. I believe they were Roman, but could be mistaken, and have no idea what it was. If somebody knows, please leave a comment below.
Sometimes on the Camino, it’s easy to get distracted, especially if there was a lot to see. Up to this point, I had walked off the Camino only twice. Once it was only for a few steps, and another time for about 200 meters. This time there were yellow arrows… let me just add what I wrote on page 128, “Through the modern section of León, I looked around and took photos. I thought I was paying attention but was shocked when I arrived at the municipal albergue, two kilometers off the Camino. What went wrong? The sidewalk was well-marked with yellow arrows, so I wasn’t lost or wandering…”
Anyway, I wasn’t very happy with myself and couldn’t understand how I left the main Camino. Now, I had to find my way back. I decided not to backtrack and explore a part of the city that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. That journey will be on my next post, Oh, Oh! I’m Off The Camino de Santiago in León, Spain. Please join me.
If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle and Kobo. My Goodreads page has reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.