Since not all albergues have WIFI my posts will most likely be delayed. I will still write them as they happen but they won't get online before I have access to WIFI. Roaming is too expensive for doing it any other way.
Anyway, after a looooong and boring bus ride from Madrid to Leon I finally arrived at my starting point for my Camino. At one o'clock a big smile appeared on my face when this amazing sight was in front of me:
The cathedral in Leon is very beautiful and the walk from the station was very nice as Leon is truly a beautiful city with a nice cosy atmosphere to it. For the first time I experienced how the locals see us. I didn't know how to find the cathedral from the station so I asked an elderly man who was sitting on a bench for relaxing about the direction. I knew he didn't understand English so I simply said cathedral in Danish and folded my hands in a prayer. He answered me something in Spanish where I could understand Camino de Santiago and Peregrino (Spanish word for pilgrim) and started pointing and waving in a direction. I smiled and said gracias and started walking. I did notice he got up too but didn't think more about that. When stopping at red light 250 meters up the road I noticed he was almost jogging behind me to keep up with me. Once he came up to me he grabbed my arm and made me understand I should turn right and then I would be able to see the church. He made sure I took the right road before he turned around and walked back to his bench! What an experience. And he was right. From there on I could see the cathedral.
Along the road I passed narrow streets like these:
(Berna, this one is for you. Haha)
I also came across my first yellow arrow and sea shell which I will be looking for a lot during the next 14 days.
After having found the cathedral I spent half an hour looking for the albergue but with no luck. Again I was rescued by a local who even approached me without me having to ask him. He took me to the albergue (!) and after having paid €5 for my bed (bunk bed and I got the top. I hope I will stay put)
and having left Ursula with all the other backpacks I went out exploring Leon. I was out and about for almost three hours and u must admit that I got lost but I eventually made it back. I was starting to get a little worried though but if all ended well.
Among other things I picked up some sun screen and that turned out to be a good idea:
When it is that warm it is totally okay that I enjoy a frozen yogurt topped with dark chocolate and bananas in the shadow.
It was yummy!
Besides that I bought a very fancy hat (ahem!) to myself so my ears and hair won't get too sunburned and a shell for Ursula so it is clear for everyone that we are peregrinos.
The albergue is an old monastery and is close to a cosy church. There is a daily evening mass for the Peregrinos and I still haven't decided if I want to go or not. We'll see.
The albergue from the outside.
Nearby church and a Fontaine with portable and cold water. We like.
The people are very friendly and welcoming and even though they have grouped already (most people start in St Jean in France) they still talk to the new people. I am not shy but I always observe new people before I start talking too much and that's what I am doing now. And I am challenging myself and have engaged in more conversations than I normally would. I have talked to an Italian girl and translated "Kvinde Min" to a French guy and corrected his pronunciation. Not exactly what I thought I would be doing on my first evening. Haha.
Tomorrow (sunday 11.08) I take my first official step on the Camino! Wish me luck. I probably need it.