We’ve seen the landscape change quite a bit over the last week. Now we’ve left the Meseta, we’ve started to see more green and more hills. We’ve also seen some beautiful towns and cities.
After 3 weeks of walking without a break, we were starting to get a bit jaded so we decided to take a day off.
Luckily, León is the perfect place for a rest day. There’s lots to see and do.
Here’s Tom pretending not to be impressed by the pretty streets.
Here we both are looking extremely pleased not to be walking.
And here’s León Cathedral.
León Cathedral is best known for its stained-glass windows. They’re everywhere.
Apparently, it’s good to visit at different times of the day to see how the difference in light changes the experience. We couldn’t be arsed though.
Fully rested, our next big stop was Astorga.
Astorga is another beautiful city which, like León, would be a great place to visit outside the Camino.
Its claims to fame are its palace, cathedral and chocolate.
The Episcopal Palace
The Episcopal Palace was one of only a few commissions the architect Gaudi took outside of Barcelona.
It looks like a Disney castle from the outside but the inside is more of a showcase of Gaudi’s work.
We really enjoyed:
The window seats that feel like they were made for having a chat.
The ceilings with their beautiful patterns.
The main chapel and its stained-glass windows.
The palace is now a museum dedicated to the Camino de Santiago. It has some excellent Camino-related artworks and artefacts.
After walking 31 kilometres, we arrived a bit too late to go in the cathedral but we did manage to take these photos of the outside.
Chocolate in Astorga
Astorga was one of the first places in Europe to produce chocolate. It has a chocolate museum to tell the story and let you sample the product.
You can read more about the history of chocolate in Astorga if you’re curious.
We didn’t have time to go to the museum but Tom had churros for breakfast. He was very smug.
Here are a couple of other excellent things we saw in Astorga.
The iron cross
One of the best known parts of the Camino de Santiago is the iron cross. Here’s Tom standing next to it.
The iron cross is mounted on a wooden pole at the top of a mountain between Foncebadón and Manjarin.
There’s a pile of stones at the bottom of the pole. Pilgrims are meant to bring a stone from their home town and leave it at the cross as a symbol of any burdens they feel they’ve been carrying that they want to leave behind.
It was hard not to be moved by what the different stones meant to so many different people. Well, it was hard until a dude with a drone turned up.
The cross is on top of the highest mountain on this Camino route, over 1,500 metres up.
That meant we were in the clouds again.
It also meant we spent the second half of the day coming back down to a normal height.
It didn’t feel too bad at the time, but we were a bit sore for a few days afterwards.
Autumn is coming
It may be 31 degrees out but Autumn is definitely on its way. Weird.
In other news
Here our some other things we’ve seen.