Thu 8 Oct - Day 24: Puente Villarente to León 12km

471km walked. 314km left to walk. 

I had a lazy morning in Puente Villarente given the short walk from there to Leon and the fact that official check in time at Hostel Albany in Leon was not until 2pm. Yes, I had made a 2 nights single room booking in Leon. 

I walked the 12km or so along side 3 Americans who stayed in the same albergue as me last night and who all also had booked rooms at Hostel Albany. 

This stone map was roughly a third of the way from Puente Villarente and Leon as noted.  
Never forget to occasionally look back towards from where I started. As the Camino generally goes from east to west, obviously the sunrise is from behind. And  sunrise and early morning can provide some excellent light for pictures. 
You may not believe it but this modern pedestrian overpass is part of the Camino as you approach Leon from the east. 
The view from that bridge. We are back in the big smoke. 

Though I think that the distant "smoke" in the picture below is from over Galicia, living up to its reputation as being the rainiest province of Spain. 

In a couple of more days I will be there and find out for myself. 
Yes, definitely back in a major center. Billboard advertising Burger King. 
later saw an ad for McDonalds. They are offering a "menú del peregrino". I didn't check what that encompassed as I would not touch that "food" regardless. 
Signs in countries outside your home country are always fun. This cute sign was warning motorists that their speed may be checked by radar...
And this neon sign just looked cool and retro. Must look fantastic when it is lit up at night. 
The wall to the inner centre of Leon. And one of my American walking buddies today who wanted to be in that photo. 
Hostel Albany was very central. On one side you can see the very impressive Leon Cathedral. 
Turn around 180 degrees and this is what 
you see. Facilities belonging to Hostel Albany.  
Hostel Albany's entrance is at the end of those red awnings to the left. Here is the Leon map with Hostel Albany marked with an X. 
The inside of my room 303 at Hostel Albany. Tiny but modern. Except that maintenance left a bit to desire. 
The view from the bed. 
And looking out through the window to a light well. At least the window would provide light and if open some fresh air. Although I noticed later that fresh air had a fair bit of cooking smell to it. 
After check in and handing over a large load of washing for action at the reception, it was time for a bite to eat. I again joined forces with the 3 Americans at a small bodega for a 3€ snack, coffee, tortilla and a bread with ham and Brie cheese. 

Camino complimentary gear shopping followed. I needed a rain cover for my backpack as Galicia beckons. 

I got that, but I also bought a few more things. You know, good to have stuff. So 82€ later, I got these 4 items.
I also got a pair of funky shorts, a fast drying short sleeved shirt and new rubber ends to my hiking poles. The old ones were a distant memory. One rubber end did not even survive the Pyrenees. Missing in action as I arrived in Roncesvalles. 

After a little siesta, I decided to do a bit of flaneuring. Some pics:

Tintin and his buddies in a shop window. Look closely to the right and you can see both a Swedish flag and an Australian icon. Why? Who knows. 
I wandered west on Avenida de Ordono II (they have some great street names in Spain, particularly for avenues) to Rio Bernesga. Looked very nice. I liked Leon much better than Burgos already. 
The inflow of water to the left was going through some environmental process, I didn't quite get what and how, but presumably the water comes out again cleaner. 

Leon's central railway station was on the other side of Rio Bernesga. However, they had done something really odd here.

One side... 
And other side:
Yes, they had made a road right across the railway lines. Cut them off 90 degrees right through. 

That tiny little building you see in the middle photo is the "new" train station. The trains have to stop there as they can no longer go through to the other side. Hmmm...

If you check the earlier map, you will find that the road cutting through the railway lines is not marked there. More hmmm...

Anyway, the interesting parts of Leon seemed to stop there so i turned around and crossed the bridge to the city side again. 

I followed Parque de Paralaguinda south (did I mention that Leon is a very green city with lots of parks?). 

Is this promenade made for flaneuring or what?
High rised apartment living, bird style. Next to the promenade. 
The below looked like an environment where kids and young people can safely train traffic sense. Great idea. 
Plaza de Toros in Leon. 
Parque El Chantre was another lovely park in Leon. 
Even though this place had a cross on top of it, it looked like apartment living. Regardless it was very stylish. 
Ha, this Burger King marketing made me laugh. "American street food"??
The next discovery made me very happy. One of the largest Chinese junk stores that I have ever been to (I went in to check it out of course). 

The store had so much stuff (a huge collection of walking sticks for example) but all I came out with was a shaving soap. I couldn't think of anything else that I needed. 
I wandered past the local supermercado and picked up dinner and breakfast food (and some beer and snacks). I was determined to take full advantage of having a single room for two nights. That included eating in the room, at least for tonight's dinner
. So I bought smoked salmon, iceberg salad and water. That's dinner for tonight.  
I also intend to have breakfast in the room for the next 2 mornings. This should do it. 
Yes, cereal and milk, digestives crackers and sardines in olive oil and a bottle of orange juice. Even if I have to leave some it behind, it is still both cheaper and tastier than commercial coffee and toast breakfasts. 

That's it for now. I will have a relaxing evening in my room all by myself. It was a while ago. Now I will have a shave...

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