I had a shorter walk to León and stayed at a hostal (budget hotel) instead of the albergue. I didn't want to miss out on city adventure if the lights went out early, which they do at albergues. In fact, they lack lights entirely so that people can sleep.
Leon is a lovely city. The Gaudi house built for a wealthy family was stunning right along the main market street. The parks were pretty and the river calm. I can see how it enchanted.
I saw graffiti that spoke of political dissatisfaction literally from hundreds of years ago. In the times before America was "discovered", Castille and Leon kingdoms were merged to create a powerful Spanish kingdom and nation. Many from Leon hated the merger and still want autonomy.
I also realized something about my journey. I love cathedrals, architecture, church services, and meeting locals. True, the pilgrims were fun to meet, but it's not the same to me.
So in consultation with Stephen, I decided to skip 30km walking tomorrow. I was to walk to Hospital de Orbigo but instead will take the bus through industrial areas, go to Hospital de Orbigo, and walk a shorter distance of 24km to the ancient city of Astorga. Rather than just passing through Astorga and continuing to El Ganso, I am thinking I could do this and stay in Astorga instead, then tomorrow go past El Ganso to Foncebadon. With the skipping of 30km, I needed to feel ok and and overcome my concerns that "I'm cheating".
As always, Stephen centers me. He pointed out that it's my pilgrimage and mine alone. If I find more value and insight with the new plan, the walking doesn't matter . I need to see what fills me and meet those who can teach me. In the words of David of Canada (read tomorrow's blog) I needed to give myself permission, and Stephen has been the strongest force in my life to let me do so.
My prayers for this day:
May we not be hemmed in by the journey of others;
may our road be one of fulfillment not obligation;
May we open our eyes to see what was laid before us;
May the stars guide our feet to the place we are meant to be.