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Cycling the Camino de Santiago - Day 13 (Wading through water, and sheep, to get to Leon)

I was so exhausted after my cycle yesterday that I went to bed almost as soon as I got to Sahagun... having done absolutely no sightseeing.  

To rectify this travesty, I took a half hour out of the schedule this morning to wander around. 

I found Sahagun small, but charming. 

I particularly liked the old monastery, the local church, the bell tower, and the imposing arch which looms over the main road.

There is a huge emphasis on Sahagun in the Camino guidebooks because it marks the half way point on the Camino Frances.  

As such, there are a number of signs and monuments in the town noting this significance. 

Upon leaving the town, I passed streams of pilgrims starting their day on foot, with large backpacks and walking sticks in tow. 

But my lead on them didn't last long - we were all caught in a roadblock before long when a local farmer decided today was the day he needed to transport hundreds of his sheep. 

I was forced to stop entirely for a while and let the bleeting mass flow around me. 

Some stopped and sniffed at me while others, who were more aloof, merely brushed past me as if I didn't exist. 

It was beautiful. I was entirely encased in a sea of sheep. I found it oddly serene. 

The next few towns rushed by - Bercianos Del Real Camino, El Burgo Ranero, Reliegos. 

I was making great time on my almost 60km trek, so when I came to the river at Puente de Villarente I just had to stop and take a dip. 

The water was ice cold. 

I have no idea how it was so cold, given that it was roughly 2pm on a roasting hot day in Spain (the temperature was around 30°) but ice cold it was. 

A number of other pilgrims were also unable to pass this welcome oasis and had set up temporary camp by the river's edge. 

The group was made up of six different nationalities, so they were calling themselves the six nation army. 

They were blaring feelgood music from speakers, talking, laughing, and launching themselves into the water on occasion. 

They made the rivers edge feel like a scene from a teen drama, full of music and shouting and merriment. 

Content with my own little patch on the outskirts of their revelry I was happy to have them in the background, with my feet in the water, my hands on the grass, and my face looking up at the clear blue sky. 

I lounged around there for about an hour. I didn't want to leave, but Leon was still another 13km or so away.

Reluctantly I dried off, packed up, and hit the road again. 

The terrain so far had been the same as I had seen since Burgos - undulating plains with sparse agricultural land spanning either side of the road. 

It became decidedly more urban, however, the closer I got to Leon. 

On the homeward stretch, having just reached the crest of a large hill, I turned a corner and saw the city stretching out before me in the distance. 

It's size was nothing short of breathtaking. 

I would have taken a picture, but I was now on a severe downward slope in heavy traffic on what was fast becoming a motorway. 

So I took the sensible option and left my phone in my pocket, concentrating instead on careening down the hill without killing myself. 

I got to Leon before long, and went straight to my hostal for a shower and some Netflix. 

I have no shame in saying I stayed in my room all night. Tomorrow is for sightseeing - it is to be my last rest day before the final long slog to Santiago, in fact, so I had better make the most of it. 

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