I made it! A long and grueling journey, but I am settled in a hotel ( just for tonight) and back to an albergue for tomorrow. I am in a room by myself, with sheets and towels, just 2 blocks from the cathedral.
Check out the pictures at www.sanmartinhostales.com
For now this is what I need.
I was at the airport in plenty of time, thanks to Wendy, and after having a delicious send-off dinner with Meg, Arlo, Cy and Lola. It was easy to spot the pilgrims in the waiting lounge - hats, zip-off pants, and carry-on backpacks. The first one I chatted to was Tim who I had met at the CCOP meeting. Then a few others, plus more on the plane. But we landed at noon in Madrid, and I caught a slow bus to Leon, and no more pilgims. It was a challenging walk from the bus terminal in Leon to find my hostal - it is always a trial for me to find my way in cities.But I asked for help, and people really want to help, even though their english is sparse.
The last stop before Leon was Mansilla de las Mulas, and that is where we first intersected the Camino Frances. How exciting to catch glimpses of the trail out the bus window. And my hotel is on the Camino!
I hope I sleep well tonight - there is little sleep to be had on an overnight flight. Tomorrow I will mail a few things to Rabanal, buy some walking poles, and start out. I am not sure of my destination tomorrow - I´ll just see how it goes. Perhaps Virgen del Camino, or perhaps farther.
Buen Camino to you all