Distance to go: 357 Kms.
I think we both found Sahagún a little disappointing after the hype in the guidebook. It was a bit shabby. There were some notable buildings including this one above which is right outside the municipal Albergue. Beside the albergue entrance door is this strange fellow standing beside a statue of a pilgrim.
We both had a good nights sleep ( Debs and I, not the statue that is) and although all the bunks are in the attic of the church they are subdivided up. Its best to get a bunk as far away from the kitchen as possible though.
When we woke it was clear that the decision to move on to León was the correct one. So we went to the station and caught the train for the 35 minute ride. Only €5 each. My feet were not good and needed rest. We walked from the station about 25 minutes to the cathedral. We passed a really good outdoors shop that had some decent looking sandals in the window. We would return later when it opened for a closer look.
Once you first set eyes on the Cathedral you can’t help but go wow! It is not as big as Burgos Cathedral but it is much more slender looking and the amount of stained glass is outstanding.
The apartment I had booked on booking.com was not 3 minutes walk away but was not ready until 13:00. So we sat at the Hostel Albany Cafe close by and had a good breakfast. Who should walk by but Damien, the Dublin Fire Chief. He joined us for a time then went to book a hotel. He was going to stay for 2 nights as well to rest his back. We then visited the tourist information office opposite the cathedral. Very helpful. They pointed us in the direction of the central Post Office. We wanted to post our beautiful certificates we got yesterday back home. We needed to pass the outdoor shop to get there. So, to kill two birds with one stone we popped into the store to look at the sandals. The assistant approached. I asked if he spoke English. “Yes” he said.”I lived in London for two years”. I felt like an idiot again. I explained my problem. He looked at my feet. “Ah” he said.”You have Meseta foot”. “Pray tell me more my good man”. It is not uncommon for the hard tracks of the Meseta and Tierra de Campos to play merry hell with feet and knees. Bruised heels is very common. You can tell who has crossed the Meseta. They do the Pilgrim shuffle. The wincing straight legged walk is a dead give away. A quick look at the tattered toes covered in tape, plasters and tissue confirms the observation. Now I know why so many pilgrims we knew bypassed the Meseta on the bus! Not us. We are paying now. The sandals were sent from heaven. They are fantastic. No pain at all walking in them. Debbie got some too and we bounced off to the post office to send our certificates home. The man behind the counter spoke good English. When we had concluded our business he asked how it was crossing the Meseta. I was seriously wondering whether the word ‘idiot’ was stamped on my forehead. Maybe my sandals gave the game away.
We returned too and took a tour of the cathedral. It was magnificent. As mentioned before the stained glass is breathtaking and is in my view what sets this cathedral apart from many others I have visited. Inside, the fields of colour spilling onto the walls and floor is magical. We got our credential stamped. By now it was time to head back to the Hostel Albany for lunch. That was also good. Damien walked by again. Impeccable timing. It was time to go and check into our apartment. We were delighted with it. For €50 a night we have a place with a double bed, kitchenette and separate shower and toilet. There are washing machines that are free to use in a separate laundry. We are staying at the Emilio Feo Gotico apartments. They are clean and tidy and so well located that I would recommend them if you want to stay here.
There is a fiesta going on in honour of Saints Peter and Paul. The place is buzzing. Stages have been erected around the central city upon which bands are playing as well as other entertainment.
As for my feet? Well the very nice rioja we are enjoying after a very tasty pasta dinner cooked by Debbie are distracting me from them at this moment in time whilst we listen to the next band on stage outside the cathedral through our open windows. I shall be leaving my boots in the cupboard for as long as I possibly can.