April 19. Day 24. 19 km. Departed 0755 hours, arrived 1230 hours.
Good Friday. A sacred day for Christians.
The rains had come over night, the streets were wet and there were puddles on the trails. The heavens cried.
It was overcast all day, and drizzled for a bit. It was a day that long time walkers relished. A crispness in the air. Not many souls in sight.
An (un-natural) event occurred in the mid morning stretch of our walk. We had seen two dead hares by the roadside over the past several days, victims of vehicles. This morning, a hare was literally running towards us on the trail. At first, I had it confused for a small dog. It ran for about 80 meters towards us on the trail, stopped about 50 meters away from us, turned around and ran off into the field. It has been my experience that hares always run away from people. No?
We reached Leon before our backpacks. Our lodging host informed us that is to be expected due to road closures for the various processions scheduled in Leon.
This was the cheapest Pilgrim’s Menu offering we have seen so far this year (majority averaged Euro 10 but we had tended to prefer the Menu del Dia/Of The Day, which may cost Euro 2-3 more). It was counter-intuitive to see this pricing as we closed in on Leon. We had seen a 14% price increase in a specific lodging relative to 2018 rates).
We visited the Cathedral’s cloisters in the afternoon.
It had a concrete courtyard with two sculptures.
The original painted murals were amazing, scenes from scripture. Virgin Mary and the twelve apostles receiving the Holy Spirit.
Christ being crucified.
The Chapel that was part of the Cloisters was serene and beautiful.
Stained windows in Chapel.
Outer vestibule of the Chapel.
View of part of Cathedral roofline from Cloisters.
Ceilings of Cloisters.
Holy Week celebrations in Leon is a very big affair. Locals from other parts of Spain, Europeans come too. Accommodation is very scarce. We saw pilgrims sitting on benches with their backpacks in the afternoon, which is not a good indicator as it means they were not able to find beds in the albergues.
Guide books mention that the Holy Week processions in Leon are the biggest and famous. They were not exaggerating.
We lucked out – our lodging was on the procession street, and we had a third floor balcony to view from!
Some of the procession floats (aka paso).
It was close to a 2 hours procession. And the streets were jam packed.
The processions continue tomorrow at different hours with different floats, but it looks like the evening one is the biggest!
Post Script: Sleeping in lodgings on the main street also means hearing the early morning noises of street cleaners and their equipment, cafe/bakery openings, etc. 🙂