Freebie In León!
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to get up, find the local Lavanderia, figure out how to operate the machines and get washing!”
I think it was Ernest Shackleton who said this, another walker who got himself lost once or twice, but always made it back. With clean knickers. For the second time on this trip I find myself watching our clothes spinning round, having followed the instructions of the hotel receptionist and nipped down here first thing to do the dirty work. I’ve left Carolyn singing in the shower, (you know that bit’s not true – it’s far too early for such jovial behaviour) telling her to take her time while I do all the grafting. “What a wonderful, thoughtful thing to do”, I hear you say, “And before he’s even had his breakfast.”
Washing completed and breakfast consumed, we headed for Casa Botines, a museum dedicated to Gaudi. He apparently did more work here than anywhere else out with Catalonia. It was very interesting, albeit not the jaw dropping experience that is the Sagrada Familia.
At the Plaza Mayor there was what appeared to be an antiques market and a food market. To our uneducated eyes the antiques looked pretty unimpressive, like piles of junk, actually, but of course these are the musings of a complete philistine when it comes to such things. Doubtless there were all manner of gems awaiting the recognition of the trained eye. We didn’t spend much time studying the fruit and veg; it all looked fruity and veggie.
The Spanish really love their statues, and in a city such as Leon they are simply everywhere, from the recreation of Gaudi’s George and the Dragon to cardinals on galloping horses and lions clutching scrolls to modern depictions of prominent sons and daughters of Leon through the years. And one of Gaudi sitting on a bench. So much of the centre of the city is impressively ornate: the plazas are always exquisitely cobbled and tiled. There is always something to admire. As I write this I’m looking across the square at the facade of a building whose lower section contains magnificent double doors of wood and brass with windows to match. It’s a dental clinic.
Carolyn has been intrigued by the constant depiction of cockerels in statues and paintings on or in Spanish churches. When she looked into this on the internet she came across several theories such as Peter’s denial of Jesus 3 times before the cock crowed; the cock symbolises the rising of the sun and like Christ, announces the arrival of a new day after the darkness of night. She came across several others, some approaching the topic from a religious angle, others a bit more left field, shall we say!
Tomorrow the walking boots are back on and we follow the trail to Villadangos Del Paramo . This is the start of Phase 4 of the journey, which lasts 7 days and ends in the town of Sarria. From there, it’s the final 100km push to Santiago. A long way to go yet, but significantly less than 3 weeks ago. Weather still hot, sky still blue, disposition still sunny!
Today’s album track is “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay,” by Otis Redding. It’s a very relaxed song and completely appropriate for the lazy day we’re having, if you take away the dock. And the bay.