Camino de Santiago: Day 18, Villar De Mazarife, Spain
Distance from León to Villar De Mazarife, Spain 15.2 kilometers
There is a strange tug that you feel when you are in close proximity to the Camino de Santiago. A psychological force that occupies your mind and makes you want to get up and go walking. At dinner last night Sarah and I were talking about how, even though we have only taken two days off the trail and Burgos and León had been lovely, we were wanting to get back on the trail and walking toward Santiago de Compostela again.
We started walking again from La Virgen del Camino on the outskirts of León. The area was still very much freeways and suburbs, but after about half-an-hour we were back into the countryside and getting our Camino stride back. We were still on the high central plains of northern Spain, the Meseta, and everything nearby was flat and geologically featureless, but in the distance, to the west, we could just make out the snow capped mountains we are to cross in a few days. Nearby there was a carpet of Spring wildflowers and sporadic groves of naked trees, and through the wind we could make out the sound of distant cuckoo birds.
We walked through the village of Chozas de Abajo, but to be honest, even though it is fresh in my memory, there was nothing remarkable to remember about it. This part of the Camino shared its existence with an asphalt road, but there were no other walkers and only occasional cars, and the combination of warm sun and cool wind made for a pleasant road.
We arrived into the village of Villar De Mazarife at about 2PM and took a private room, with no bath, at the first place we saw for €30 euros. The San Antonio de Padua had a 30 bed dorm upstairs and our room, with shared bath was downstairs. We dropped off our backpacks and set out looking for a snack in the village. We found a taverna filled with tables of old men playing dominoes and cards, that offered warm and filling, of not overly satisfying food for lunch. Before heading home to our albergue we stopped by the old church which was outwardly remarkable only in that it had huge nests of storks on the bell tower.
Across from the albergue was a shepherd riding a donkey tending a flock of woolly sheep with the help of his dogs. It was entertaining watching him give commands to his companions as he directed them to drive the sheep down the Santiago de Camino to greener pastures.
We had a vegetarian dinner of green salad, pumpkin soup, vegetarian paella and, of course, bread and wine. The simple food was delicious, but even more fun was listening to our fellow diners from all over the world at the community table, tell their stories of the Camino.