Ok I know all you Kiwis are going to kill me now.... but the heat has arrived here! I was glad to get nearly right across the Meseta before it did though. It has been around 30C the last few days, though it is a lovely dry heat at present, not humid. Have been starting walking at around 6am which is as soon as it gets light here, with sunrise around 6.30am. That way I get in a couple of hours of lovely cool walking. But this morning it was already very warm by 10am.
Left Mansilla de las Mulas with very good memories. The hospitaleros there were lovely. There is an older man who has nurtured a huge number of geraniums that are in pots all around the courtyard, making it a lovely place to sit and talk to others. There was a younger woman hospitalero who was great as well, and she did an excellent job of helping people fix up their foot problems, with a huge amount of good humour. (Lots of people seem to have got blisters with the increased heat: I haven´t yet, touch wood.) Met Tom and Tania, young Kiwis, there. Discovered I went to school with Tom´s aunty, and that he was at FDMC where my nephews have been.....
We left Mansilla on what started as another very flat walk into Leon. The full moon was hanging in the sky as it lightened for dawn. A magic walking moment. And we needed to treasure it, as later that morning we started a lot of highway walking that lasted until this morning. At one point we had to cross the highway into Leon at what seemed like an incredibly dangerous spot, just around a bend where oncoming cars could not see us crossing, and we could not see if they were coming or not. Seven of us crossed at once....
Leon was an amazing city with many beautiful buildings. I will have to come back another time as a tourist though to see them properly. For now, I feel the need to complete this walk before it gets too hot. So no holidays like I had in France! My favourite place in Leon was San Isadora where they had a library that had many original manuscripts. I had visions of the monks working hard on them!
Yesterday there were quite a few kilometres to walk to clear Leon, then a lot of the walk was beside the highway. Not the most interesting day. But I stopped at San Martin de Camino in a friendly municipal albergue. It looked a bit rundown from the outside, but it had a lovely cool dorm, shady trees and a shady porch, and there were only ten of us but we enjoyed each other´s company.
This morning it was hot by 10am, but a lot of the second part of the walk I took the back country option and passed through some villages and farmland again...much more fun than the highway, even if it was hot!
Have arrived in Astorga on Sunday afternoon when a lot of the interesting buildings are closed again!!! In another life I will be a tourist. Tomorrow we begin the first real bit of climbing for some time as we head up some mountains. It is supposed to rain!