June 11, 2008 Bercianos to Mansilla de las Mulas

As Tim, Trevor, Danni and I were leaving Bercianos, Trevor announced his plan to take a bus from Mansilla de las Mulas into León. His goal was to miss the long slog through suburbs into this beautiful, but sprawling metropolis. I worried privately that my plan to walk the whole distance would mean that I would miss them after this evening.

We walked through Moratinos and the odd underground homes between there and Reliegos. At Reliegos we stopped at a bar/cafe and there met Daniel Harman, a biker whose plan was to ride from his home in Brighton, England to the tip of South Africa. He had discovered the Camino de Santiago as he’d ridden across Spain and had decided to wander along with the flow of pilgrims for at least a few days. We described albergue life to him and he purchased a credential and stayed with us for several evenings along the way.

On the outskirts of Mansilla de las Mulas another vast flock of sheep took up the road in front of us. In town I found the main albergue which has a large courtyard where pilgrims do their washing and socializing. I said goodbye to Danni, Trevor and Tim and contented myself with  laundry, food gathering, and ATM plundering. That evening I got an SMS message from Stefan of South Africa. “When will you be in León?” he asked. “Tomorrow night,” I replied. He was in Ponferrada, was wanting to spend another great Friday night in the party-city of León, and promised to meet me there to show me how to celebrate like a true pilgrim. I went to bed with the sadness of missing one set of friends, but the joy of knowing I’d see another in a little more than a day.

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