Mansilla De Las Mulas to Leon.
“ Cuelda suelta, mama oca !”
And so we have arrived in the city of Leon, where we can look forward to enjoying a day off tomorrow, the last one before, all being well, we reach Santiago.
Once again, we spent most of today’s walk chatting to another couple, in this case Andrew and Liz from Australia, terrific people with whom, sadly, we found we had much in common. I also learned quite a lot about fishing in Australia and New Zealand, while we did a fairly decent job talking up the West Highland and Great Glen Ways. As I said before, it’s amazing how quickly the journey can go in when you’re getting to know a bit about people from other countries.
Leon, on the basis of what we’ve seen so far, is a beautiful city, full of cobbled plazas surrounded by immaculate sandstone buildings with magnificent arched windows and balconies, all replete with red, white and pink geraniums. The whole place is immaculate. They have a museum dedicated to Gaudi, the iconic Spanish architect who created La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. If you haven’t seen it, you have to seek it out. The weather continues to bathe us in sunshine as we sip beer (well, I do) and admire the world.
The thing that I find hugely frustrating in Spain is mealtimes. Once it is past about 2.30pm then you can, almost without exception, forget about a hot meal. They resume serving them at 8.30pm. That’s too late for us. We’re currently wandering round Leon’s very attractive streets looking for food.
And we’ve found somewhere! Looks like pizza for us, which is hot – that’s good. We haven’t actually been asked for our order yet – that’s not great. We’re looking across at the cathedral, which is very impressive- that’s nice. If we want to go inside the cathedral, it’s 6 euros each, which is outrageous. It’s a church, for gawd’s sake, not a business. This is another minor source of frustration for me. Or am I being naive?
Carolyn and Sara (our Scottish friend from Edinburgh) have decided to bite the bullet and pay the 6 euros. I’m standing (sitting, actually) my ground. They’re away in, I’m staying put and finishing my substantial pizza. No doubt I’ll hear all about it, and you shall see photos of the interior, very soon. So far on the Camino we have visited round about 30 churches. This one’s just a bit more flash. And expensive.
The world is cruising by me as I finish off my meal. The sun continues to shine down upon us. Everyone looks happy. Not a bad way to end our first day in Leon. We’ll explore some more tomorrow. When the girls return we’ll have some coffee. That’s just the way we roll : party hard, pilgrims.
Today’s album track is “Late Again” by Stealers Wheel. If we’d got here sooner a proper meal could have been had at a reasonable hour. Maldita sea!