Madrid to Camino Francés – Léon to Mazariffe, Spain

8.11.16 – 9.11.16 Madrid to Léon 337km 3 hrs (bus); Léon to Mazariffe 22.2km (walking).

Taken from the bus between Madrid and Léon

I travelled back to the Camino sooner than planned, eager to start to walk again and rejoin friends. The bus journey seems interminable when you are so keen to arrive, and isn’t it often the case that the more you care, the more the delay!

Cathedral Santa Maria de León

Léon is an active, large town with elegant squares and imposing edifices. The Cathedral is almost overwhelming in its grandeur, and because there is now a charge to get into all parts, I focused on the cloisters and side chapels.

Side chapel with the Virgin
The simple yet inspirational cloister ceiling

An exceptionally kind fellow pilgrim, Alain, had found accommodation in a tastefully restyled, ancient building, and prepared meals for me, so I was well cared for after my journey.

And we enjoyed visiting the ancient sights in the rather damp weather.

Detail from the Cathedral cloisters of muscly thighs and putti
Detail showing the Camino shell. From the cloisters of the Cathedral

On the way out of town, I spotted this moving statue of a suffering man on a podium. There was more of his work around the city which is well worth seeing.


The next day dawned bright for walking once again, joyfully, under familiar azure skies. There was an impressive Gaudi building to admire on the way out of town.

Casa de los Botines, Antoni Gaudi 1892-93
In the Plaza de San Marcelo

It was a manageable stage to Mazariffe, with convivial company, gorgeous landscapes, wonderful to be in the open air again, and walking.


There were many more tarmac kilometres and they are more tiring than walking on the natural paths.

“The perfect evenness of tarred roads ends by boring the feet.” p. 95 A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros.

But there was so much else to create happiness, it didn’t matter.


‘I am on a path to Villar (de Mazariffe) in the middle of nowhere Northern Spain, I haven’t seen a pilgrim in the last hour, and I just felt…euphoric. I was dampish and cold, but I felt euphoric. I AM WALKING THE CAMINO. So like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, I suddenly felt so appreciative of..of..of everything..’ This expresses the sort of sentiment I felt and heard others make, over and over, on the Camino Francés. It is taken from this blog: Ted’

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