Camino de Santiago: Leon to Virgen del Camino

9-22-2016:  Breathtaking… remarkable… amazing…camino-1030150First ancient Roman baths, then a palace and finally León Cathedral, dedicated to Santa María de la Regla, which was declared of Cultural Interest in 1844. It is known as the Pulchra Leonina and is a masterpiece of the Gothic style of the mid-13th century. The design is attributed to the architect Enrique. By the late 16th century it was virtually completed. ~Wikipediacamino-1030169I found it fascinating that the stained glass on the north side of the tower features cool colors to represent the Old Testament; the south side’s stained glass uses warmer colors to show how Christ brought light to the New Testament. This design also takes into account the movement of the sun during the day. Now that took an architect with keen attention to detail…

Before leaving the hostal, I check out Facebook and notice an American Pilgrims on the Camino Facebook friend is staying at the famous luxury hotel called the Parador.  Thinking I’m clever, I leave a comment that I will wave at him as I walk by in about an hour.

Around noon we leave the historic center of Leon with a 7 kilometer hike to Virgen del Camino as our destination.

Short video from our short journey today.

Approaching this magnificent building, we speculate that it must be a museum. I sit on a bench to tie my boot.  Hmmm… this can’t be the Parador…
camino-1030203Backpacks and hiking poles are dead giveaways that we are pilgrims. A gentleman approaches us and we begin to visit. Little did I know, but this was the same Facebook friend I was planning to wave to as I walk by. Small world.  He confirms that this is, indeed, The Parador. This five star Parador was originally a monastery founded in the twelfth century to provide lodging for the pilgrims travelling to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. It later became the headquarters of the Order of Saint James whose soldiers provided protection for the pilgrims. ~www.paradores-spain.com

Our conversation expands to include a wonderful young man traveling in a camper van throughout Europe with his wife and dog. I’m thinking that is a great plan as you’d always have a place to sleep.

camino-1030214As we approach our hostel for the night, the neighborhood is looking  dodgy.

No key issued to us for the front door of Hostal Sota and we are only allowed in by the lone hostal employee. In fact, we may be about the only people staying here.  Nice lounge area in the basement and our activities are constantly monitored. 

Why does the song “Hotel California” keep playing through my mind?

Top three photo picks of the day:
camino-1030228Lottery ticket sales appear to be going well before mass outside the Catholic church.

camino-1030195 camino-1030223

 

 

 

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