The First Day – May 25, 2013

We left Leon with heavy hearts. The first day of the hike was easier than expected, and harder than expected. The walk was around 22 km. It took forever to walk out of the city of Leon. I had little expectation of how long distance walking would be on me mentally and physically. It was then I discovered second breakfast. We stopped at a little mom and pop cafe a few kilometers outside the city. It is a common site for copious amounts of lawn furniture lined with beer advertisements to welcome peregrinos to a well deserved rest.

I set my bag down, let my feet air out, and took in the wonderfulness that is second breakfast. This is also where I had my first introduction to cafe con leche. This frothy mixture of milk, coffee, and sugar would become my best friend on the trail. It is nearly impossible to hike the camino without caffeine. Im glad I discovered this fact very early. The second advantage to cafe cone leche is that it only costs around 1.30 in euro, which is still under 2 USD.

These short breaks usually last around 15 to 30 minutes and were the answer to my second wind. It is ALWAYS time for cafe con leche, beer, wine, or just orange juice if that’s what you fancy. Most restaurants offer small sandwiches, donuts, croissants, or even some bacon, eggs, and fries. Besides that, second breakfast is the only way you can use the bathroom without letting nature call in the bushes. In Spain, it is rude to use a place of business’s bathroom without having bought something. Second Breakfast, you saved my life on the Camino!

By Christina

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