Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

Camino de Santiago - page 7

A Pilgrim's Progress: Fr. Stephen Sanchez, OCD, on the Camino de Santiago – 2018 - page 7

July 28th

Saturday - Second day in Leon. We got up late (a little after 8am) - rather I woke up a few times - once Ron was gone, the next Peter was gone and the last time Peter was walking-in with 'café con leche' for me - probably thinking about forcefeeding me so that I would get up.

I sat up took the coffee and crousaint that was so generously brought to me and we started getting ready for our Cathedral tour - I thought it would take all morning.

We got ourselves ready and headed out - we walked to the bus stop - about a 15 minute walk from the albergue in the cool morning air. We got there asked some information about the bus. While we waited we watched some storks on their nests for a bit....but.....we got a little antsy and started walking towards the Cathedral - what's a 45 minute walk after all? We walked on and at about the 3rd bus stop we took the bus to a stop near the Cathedral.

We paid our Euros for the tour - the receptionist told us it would be 35 minutes - of course I took longer. The cathedral is HUGE and was built by a community of 5000, on land donated by King Odoñio and is now buried behind the main altar.

Due to architectural discoveries the walls were taller and had more windows - breathtaking! The detail in stone and glass is incredible! During a period of restoration they almost lost the cathedral but were blast with an architectural genius that was able to save the structure.

After we finished the Cathedral tour we decided to also walk the Cathedral Museum tour (more Euros) - WOW! Extensive but NO PICTURES ALLOWED - it went on and on and on.>p>Afterwards we had lunch near the Cathedral Plaza then we decided to go and find the Basilica de San Isidoro so that we can attend the evening mass and recieve the pilgrim's blessing.

We found it - the information office was closed when we got there so waited for it to open - confirmed the mass time and caught a taxi back to the albergue for a nap - when in Rome!

After siesta we headed out the Basilica - it is a perpetual adoration chapel as well. The elderly priest had a very warm and welcoming personality. He gave a great homily on the feeding of the 5 thousand and Christ's desire that we give Him our little bit so that He can bless it and multiply it when we share it with others.

After mass - we went home.

Storks nesting on top of church
Storks nesting on top of church
Interior of Cathedral in Leon
Cathedral in Leon
Cathedral nave and altar - Leon
Cathedral nave and altar - Leon
The Assumption - Leon cathedral
The Assumption - Leon cathedral
Leon Cathedral choir detail - St. Michael
Leon Cathedral choir detail - St. Michael
Harrowing of hell - Leon Cathdral choir detail
Harrowing of hell - Leon Cathdral choir detail
Thistle door - Leon cathedral
Thistle door - Leon cathedral
The white Virgin
The white Virgin
La Virgen de la O - Leon cathedral
La Virgen de la O - Leon cathedral
Tomb of OdoƱo II
Tomb of Odoño II
Our Lady of Mount Carmel - Leon cathedral
Our Lady of Mount Carmel - Leon cathedral
St. Teresa in St. Sebastian side chapel
St. Teresa in St. Sebastian side chapel
Cloister in Leon cathedral
Cloister in Leon cathedral
View from the cloister
View from the cloister
Main altar - San Isidoro
Main altar - San Isidoro
San Isidoro
San Isidoro
Pieta - San Isidoro
Pieta - San Isidoro
Main altar - detail
Main altar - detail
Basilica of San Isidoro in Leon
Basilica of San Isidoro - Leon

July 29th

The Day of the Resurrection!

The previous night we prepared for an early walk as we tackled another 25km day - this time to Villar de Manzarife. We woke up at 5:30 rolled out a little after NO COFFEE! We walked out and it was downright chilly with a consistent breeze. We walked by streetlight and moonlight searching for a shortcut to the bridge that leads out of Leon. After several blocks and following our albergue map we found ourselves wondering where we were - streets aren't well marked - kinda sorta like Dallas, you just have to know where you are going and how to get there.

After questioning ourselves for a few minutes God provided again - a woman in a small non-descript car drive up to us in the deserted street we found ourselves in and asked if we needed directions.

She straightened us out and we thanked for His Providence and continued our search for the exit of Leon. Streetlights went out, moon began to fade, sun began to brighten our way. We walked along a park Avenue keeping close to the river. A pigeon blessed me with droppings as we walked through - made me think of Tobit.

We found the bridge next to the Church of San Marco's that looked so tranquil in the early morning Sunday light.

We were tempted to stop for coffee but we hadn't left the city of Leon yet...we kept pushing...and pushing...and pushing and before we knew it we had walked for two-and-a-half hours and found ourselves in the town of La Virgen del Camino (Our Lady of the Way), built around the church of the same name. This was an old Marian shrine that was recently renovated but preserved the old 16th century retablo.

We had breakfast (eggs and ham - that unexpectedly came with potato chips) and as we finished breakfast Deacon Ron was telling us about Jamie, a young Brit he was talking to earlier (during the non-caffeine walk!) apparently he was also suffering from blisters from a 40km walk the day before. Well with the several days experience we had with Ron's blisters - which were much better now - we agreed we should offer our help.

Ron called him over, we made him sit down and bare his feet - mind you this was at a sidewalk cafe - and we tended to his blisters. He had the wrong type of socks, he wasn't wearing any liners, he had wrapped his feet in the white surgical tape (a no-no because your feet have to breathe). We undid all his dressings and redressed them and I let him have an extra pair of liners which Deacon Peter had bought for me back in Dallas.

We got him all patched-up and since we were headed to the same location we invited him to walk with us the rest of the way to Manzarife. We asked him if he would mind stopping off at the Church for a minute. He came into the Church with us and also knelt at the communion rail with us while we each prayed to Our Lady for her protection and guidance. There is a community of Dominican Friars here that serve this shrine. A kindly friar showed us how to get to the alternate route we wanted to take to get to our albergue.

You could tell that Jamie was in a lot of pain so we offered him one our walking sticks to go with the one he was using to help ease the burden off his feet. We all kept him talking. Interesting story - he once again is seeking a relationship with God, after the death of his mother. He is at this stage of his journey seeking sacred spaces. He is an English teacher in a language academy in Zaragoza.

We all made it to Mazarife in one piece about 2:15 and checked into the Albergue de Jesús: 4 to a room, so we asked Jamie if he wanted to bunk with us.

The hostess told us they had no full restaurant but we could go the grocery store down the street that closed at 3pm and would open again for an hour at 6pm.

We unloaded our packs and headed for the grocery store. Peter wanted more than anything a nice big salad for dinner - I seconded the motion and Peter bought what we needed for a salad.

We came back and had another 'community' meeting about tomorrow's journey to Astorga.

I turned-in for a short siesta and found Jamie out like a light. I felt so bad for all of his pain.

Got ready for dinner of a salad prepared by Deacon Peter, we woke Jamie up and invited him down. By the time he came down he was in excruciating pain and told us he pretty much decided to go home. After dinner we investigated all the possibilities and got him a taxi that would take him to Leon and from there take a bus back to Zaragoza.

We pray that he is well.

We turned-in and planned for an early day.

Leaving Leon
Leaving Leon
San Marcos - Leon
San Marcos - Leon
Virgen del Camino
Virgen del Camino
Retablo detail - Virgen del Camino
Retablo detail - Virgen del Camino
Villar de Mazarife
Villar de Mazarife