Walking the Camino de Santiago from Leon to Santiago
So I tried to post this yesterday, but was having problems with the wifi. That actually works out okay, though because now I can tell you guys a little bit about San Martin as I don’t think anyone is assigned to this day. So yesterday was our first official day in Leon. We started out by meeting in front of the Cathedral at 10:00, which felt really early then but was nothing compared to today’s 7am start. The cathedral was very pretty on the outside, but even more beautiful on the inside! In fact, I need to pause for a minute and bore you guys with details about the stained glass windows. So when you walk in, on the left-hand side the glass is cool tones, mostly blues with the prophets of the Old Testament. But on the right side the glass is warm tones, reds and yellows featuring various saints. This was designed to parallel the naturally occurring light, which would always come through on the northern side ( the right), but never the southern side (the left). The prophets and saints therefore fall on he side of the “eternal truth,” that is, the light representing the time after Christ’s coming. Pretty cool, huh?
The stained glass was definitely my favorite part of the Cathedral, but the audio guides gave us a ton more information before we headed off to the Basilica of San Isidoro! It was nice to contrast the difference between the Gothic cathedral and more Romanesque San Isidoro, especially since I at least have never taken an architecture class in my life! Saint Isidore, by the way, happens to be the patron saint of the internet! But the best part of San Isidoro was definitely the incredibly preserved 12th century frescoes on the other side of the church. There were a number of Biblical scenes, but I thought the coolest ones were the calendar scenes, with cute little medieval people doing different chores for each month! The museum of the church was also pretty awesome as it had a stole actually made by Eleanor of Aquitaine! The library was pretty sweet too, featuring a couple of choir books from back in the day.
Finally we headed over to San Marcos, the parador they stayed at in the movie “The Way.” It was very pretty, and had scenes of St. James on the outside since it had originally been founded as a refuge for pilgrims in the 12th century. By now we were all pretty hungry, so we broke for lunch. As I don’t speak a word of Spanish, it was pretty fun to just pick something off the menu and see what happened! Whatever that second kind of met on my plate was, it was very good.
Anyway, we met up again around 4:30 to go get out pilgrim credentials, which was super exciting! On our way there we stopped to look at the Casa de los Botines, the Gaudi building, of which there is not much to say except that it is very pretty. The only other things I can think of o say about Leon is that our hostel was right by the Roman walls, and there was a cool map of the old Roman city by the Cathedral, since it was built on the site of the old Roman baths.
This morning we were up before 7, like I mentioned, to do our first walk on the Camino! I was one of the last to arrive in San Martin, getting here around 12:30 I think. The town seems to be pretty much one main road, dominated with albergues and other services catering to pilgrims. I’m typing this up right now in the Bar Los Picos, which seems t be one of the few places with wifi. Overall today has actually been pretty relaxing! The walk was a little….okay a lot more difficult than I anticipated, but I’m sure we’ll all get a lot more used to it as time goes on.
Until tomorrow then! Buen Camino!