Stage 19: Mansilla de las Mulas – León Distance: 17.5km
Mansilla de las Mulas
Head out of Mansilla de las Mula, crossing a stone bridge over the Río Esla and onto the path parallel to the main road.
The hill on the right is the site of an ancient hill fortress and settlement of Lancia, Celtic Asturians, before they were taken by the Romans in 25BC.
Continue on for a few kilometres, crossing the Río Moro into Villamoros de Mansilla with it’s Iglesia de San Esteban.
Pass through the village and after 2km cross the Río Porma via the Puente Ingente, a 20 arch bridge which leads you into Puente Vilarente.
There was once a donkey ambulance service in the village which took sick pilgrims from the pilgrim hospice into León but unfortunately this is no longer in operation.
There are restaurants, cafes and shops in the village.
Continue through Puente Vilarente and continue walking uphill, passing over the Canal del Porma and past a rest area to Arcahueja
Take the first left if you want to detour to the village of Valdelafuente, or else continue on uphill past some factory buildings. Take a left when you reach the N601 road. If you want to stay at León’s campsite stick to the N120 road.
Go as far as the roundabout, follow the path around it and continue on the N601 until you come to a small foot bridge, you shoud be able to see León’s cathedral from here.
Cross the foot bridge and and head downhill until you reach Puente Castro and a tourist informaton at the bridge over the Río Torío.
Puente Castro is now a suburb of León which has plenty of bars and cafés.
Go down the Avenida Alcalde Miguel Castaño into Plaza de Santa Ana with it’s fountain. Take a left at the Iglesia de Santa Ana into Calle Barahona and through the Puerte Moneda.
Just before you come to the Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Mercado take a right on Calle Escurial to the Monasterio de las Benedictanas and it’s albergue in the old town of León.
León was founded by the Romans in the 1st century and it’s name is derived from Legion. It became the capital of the old kingdoms of Asturias and León and over time was conquered by the Visgoths, the Moors, and then by the Christians. It then became the centre of Christian Spain.
It sits along the banks of the Río Bernesga and is the last major city on the Camino de Santiago, before it climbs west into the sierras that separate Castilla from Galicia.
León’s cathedral, , described as the “Sistine Chapel” of Spanish Gothic & Romanesque architecture and the old Hospital de San Marcos are the key points of this former Roman encampment.
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