My walk into Mansilla was a largely solo one. I missed the turn into Reliegos and therefore the legendary Elvis Cafe. As a result, I walked the whole way on my own which was a bit of a mind bender!
There was a great albergue in Mansilla with a lovely sunny courtyard. Met up with Susie, Kkin, Craig, Laura, Dale, Kevin, Eric. A really good afternoon. There was also a great hospitalero who did an excellent job fixing blisters etc. This was her proposed solution for Tim’s disastrous blister situation.
I got a really early start out on Mansilla with the intent of getting in to Leon early enough to explore it a bit. Luckily for me Eric and Dale stopped me from heading completely off course just outside of Mansilla - there was a very pretty path leading off along the river that just looked perfect so I started ambling along it only to be recalled by them onto the correct path (not as pretty but at least aiming towards Leon!). I stopped in Villarente for coffee and ended up spending an hour there. I got there with Kevin and had coffee with him. Then Philipp and Kristoff arrived. So I had coffee with them to. I think that "Camino Time" had finally sunk in. There really was no rush. Rushing is a habit - one that took a lot of km to break!
It was quite hard work walking in to Leon. It was not that pretty and my leg was bugging me - it had somehow gone numb about 5 days before which was starting to cause me some concern. Anyway, we had some good laughs into Leon. At some point, I was called to a halt by someone calling “SudAfrika STOP” (I think the flag on my backpack gave me away). He was a very large Russian, called Sergei, who had spent some time working in SA. He even had De La Rey (Bok van Blerk) on his iPod which he very proudly played for me. Scary stuff!
Stayed in the Santa Maria Albergue in Leon. Met up with KKin and Susie and Philipp to go and look at the Cathedral in the afternoon. the Cathedral was magnificent and the stained glass windows were incredible.
What should have been a peaceful afternoon turned into a bit of a march around Leon. I went into the pharmacist to see what he had to say about my dead leg and he said that I should see a doctor. Philipp came with me as my official interpreter - what a legend! It turned into a very amusing afternoon. We bounced from the government clinic to the pediatric hospital and finally the private clinic. The doctor confirmed a nerve issue suspicion and recommended 3 days rest and some anti inflammatories. I didn’t have the heart to stay behind and lose my pilgrim team so I decided to take the anti inflammatories and walk on slowly. I did go to bed that night with a worried, heavy heart. Luckily it was easy to get up and moving in the morning - a dormitory of 60 people with no windows - I literally burst out of there gasping for air!
I was privileged to spend a lot of time exploring wilderness areas in southern Africa from a very young age. I got my first camera when I was 6 years old and I have been passionate about wildlife and landscape photography ever since.