Today was a rest day for Sandy. We took the local bus to our previously reserved room in Leon. We arrived in the large city around 1400 and checked into the San Francisco di Asis Albergue. Sandy’s prescriptions seemed to be helping her chest cold and she was feeling good enough to take a walk. We took an easy stroll into the historic city center. Leon is a large city, population 150,000. Like Burgos, it is spread out alongside a river. It has a long promenade which has some beautiful green space.
Like Burgos, Leon is noted for its huge cathedral. Leon’s cathedral is noted for its stained glass.
The small streets leading to the city center were vibrant on this holy day of Maunday Thursday. It got much busier as the day went on.
The local churches had all of their procession pieces on display for each day. Maunday Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. There were several pieces on display before tonight’s procession. There were posters (published by each church) describing their pieces and participation on almost every storefront.
The crowds began to swell as the 8 PM procession time neared. The plazas and streets were packed with spectators up to 10 persons deep along the long route.
Hooded vespers carried their churches banners. Young children, dressed exactly the same, walked along the curbs shaking each and every child’s hand along the route. The kids up front probably shook 500 gloved mini-vesper hands before it was over.
Each heavy monuments depicting Maunday Thursday was carried by up to 60 hooded church members.
Church bands played behind each procession piece. There was even a Spanish bagpipe band, significant as the upcoming areas on the camino were invaded and populated in ancient times by the Irish and Scottish.
The beautiful religious procession and the tremendous amount of work that was put into them was absolutely astonishing. It was an amazing evening.
Traveling is all about memories and this day is one we will never forget.