I liked Sahagún. It is a town that hasn’t changed much over the years. There are plenty of banks and bars and pavement cafes, but not much modernisation has gone on. The locals carry on their lives as they always have, regardless of the thousands of pilgrims passing through
I left on the 9.30 bus, a small regional 22-seater, that took an hour to reach León. It went through numerous small villages, picking up lots of oldies on their way to town. We drove through the flat agricultural land for the 75 kms which had taken me 3 days to walk in the past. At the start we followed the Camino route and saw lots of pilgrims making their way along the senda. Some people are determined to walk every step. Today was slightly warmer (8 degrees first thing) but with a bit of cloud cover. León seemed quite summery on arrival and buzzing with people.
I couldn’t check into Hotel Paris till 2.00 pm so I deposited my bag and decided to visit the Cathedral, which was literally 2 minutes walk away. First I fortified myself with a gluttonous treat: chocolate and churros:
You can get this in Perth now from a chain, but it seems far too rich unless you have walked for a few hours!
The Cathedral is undergoing some renovations at the west end:
The interior, with its incredible stained glass, is as beautiful as ever:
The Gothic cathedral is the 4th church on the site. Building started in 1205 and largely copies Rheims Cathedral at 2/3 scale. It took 100 years to complete.
The pillars with small riblike columns arranged around a central core permit arches at different heights to be supported by a single column.
Of course, this cathedral is all about the stained glass. It has more glass and less stone than any other cathedral in Spain.
(See: Gitlitz and Davidson. The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago). I have this book on my shelf at home and carry the e-book on my IPhone on this trip.