Day 22, Mansilla de las Mulas to León, Oct 20

 

Yesterday we decided to bus into León. Even THE guide book suggested we consider it. It is 18k of boring city semi industrial suburbs. So Linda, myself and Mats left Victo and Thomas at the albergue. They plan to walk, so we left in the dark in search or good coffee which we suspected, correctly, would be in León. Nothing like a need for coffee to get you going in the dark.
In León we ran into Dee, the Aussie who gets bitten by any bug in th neighbourhood. She just got out of hospital. A very nasty reaction to some bug bite has finished her trip. She and Rob had made it to the next town but within hours of getting bitten she had huge blisters and the kind ladies at the albergue called a taxi and sent her to emergency to hav e them dealt with. The doctors thought it might be fire ants.

We often visit the churches along the way. Linda and I decided to go into the León cathedral while Mats had another coffee the square. He has been here before and prefers smaller towns to the big city. He is an excellent travelling companion. He intuitively knows where bus station are, where the better albergue are, cafés and restaurants.  
The cathedral is well known for magnificent stain glass windows, and they were magnificent. €6 entrance fee and that included the use of a talking guide- it looks like a tv control but it speaks to you and takes you on a spoken tour. I noticed Linda had taken out her wallet ( looks like a Guatemalan small woven bag) and poured all her change into the palm of her hand and was picking out the smallest coins to pay with. We are weight conscious and Linda was always careful to pay with coins to lighten her load. Did you know that a credit card weights 4.8 grams?
Five minutes later Linda found me and she was a bit distraught. Within less than five minutes she had lost her wallet. After paying for her ticket she had entered into the cathedral, put her things down on a bench to organize her purse and the wallet was gone. A kind Asian man who was from Ottawa found his flashlight and we searched under the pews. Nothing, not even dust wuzzies. I went out to look in garbage cans- if someone had stolen it chances are they would take the cash and credit cards and dump the wallet while she left . Not a garbage can to be seen, so I joined Mats at the café on the square and filled him in. Linda has a spare credit and debit cards but still it was worrying. I could see her wandering the square and then she joined us. ‘Café con leche?’ I asked. ‘Non, whiskey.’ But just then an American couple came over and asked if she was Linda. They had found the wallet on the ground and turned it in at the tourism information office opposite the cathedral. They saw her purse which looked similar to her wallet and had viewed her picture so they were pretty sure it was her wallet. We all sat down and bought them a café con leche and Linda rushed off to the info booth.  Yes, they had the wallet and they said, her bottle of water she had left there 30 minutes ago. The American couple have been living in Germany for 20 years. She works for a bank and he in restoration of historical buildings. He has tendonitis of the ankle so has rented a car and will be her support or as he puts it ‘the sweep’ picking up the pieces as they progress.
Mats has decided to walk on to the albergue that Dee had said was so good about 12k further. We have plans to meet up tomorrow and will keep in touch via messenger. I would hate to lose his company. 
We booked into the albergue around 10. Here the dorms are in three sections. You walk through the men’s dorm takes about 20 bunks, then the women’s has another 20 bunks, then the preferential married quarters with only 10 beds and no walk-through traffic, where, for some reason, they put Linda and I. They even let us have the lower bunks which are usually reserved for disabled people. We gave her the sad story of Steffen and pointed out there were no ladders or side bars to keep you in. 
View from my bunk
I know we didn’t walk any distance today but my stomach was feeling a bit off so I went for a siesta. As I entered the albergue there was Thomas and Vito trying to get beds by us but they wouldn’t allow it. ‘But we’re close friends’ pleaded Thomas. The volunteer spoke a spat of Spanish and the only thing I understood was a shrug of the shoulders and the word monastry. As I snoozed in the afternoon I heard a nun checking things out. I think she wasn’t too happy that Ollie (Iceland) and his wife were in the women’s dorm. Linda was off somewhere so I just kept my eyes shut.

Time on trail: 0
Weather: foggy but it cleared by noon.

Distance travelled: 18k

Distance to go:
Food: café con leche, chocolate croissant, ham and cheese croissant, orange juice
Lesson learned:
Feeling: stomachs upset but getting better, headache.
Aches and pains: maybe a new small blister.

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