I have wanted to visit Spain for as long as I can remember and after a fair amount of travelling (2 lengthly plane rides and a 4 hour train trip) I finally arrived in Leon at 9pm last night (about 5am Brisbane time). Tired and hungry I hit the Old Quarter of Leon to try out my first Spanish meal, which turned out to be the best croquettes I've ever eaten, and a glass of red. Moving onto another tapas bar I was given a plate of freshly made hot chips in the form of thinly sliced discs of potato with chilli sprinkle and jamon, which came for free with my glass of wine. Delicioso!
Then it was bed, until 6am when I woke to a beautiful sunrise over the buildings here and a very fresh breeze through the window. Breakfast (provided at the hotel) consisted of cheese, jamon, bread and cereal with a cup of tea. Needless to say I loved it. Then it was off to the Catedral de Leon, without doubt the most amazing cathedral I've ever been fortunite enough to see. It's13th century architecture with soaring towers and amazing interior is breathtaking and I
spent ages there listening to the personal audio and taking lots of pics. On route to the cathedral I went past a farmers market and was in heaven. Pity I couldn't buy anything.
I walked past the Museo de Art Contemporaneo in the heart of Leon which is a fantastic looking building with lots of coloured glass, but didn't venture in as I was on a mission to grab some walking poles and get my Camino de Santiago passport (it gets stamped at various spots along the way and eventually at the end you receive the Compostela certificate). On the same block as the pole shop was a supermarket which of course I went into as I was curious and love a new supermarket! Anyway it was odd but great, not much choice of general items like we have in Coles etc, but a huge deli counter and then there's the butcher counter with fantastic looking beasts hung up ready for slicing. Then there's the seafood counter with bags of clams and trays of beautiful fresh sardines and seafood I'd never seen before. Oh how I wish I had a kitchen to cook in right now!!
walking poles and a long sleeved walking shirt in toe (much colder than I was anticipating), I headed back to the Old Quarter for lunch. Croquettes again, this time bacon and morcella, damn they are good, a slice of flaming chorizo, salad, a stuffed egg, a muscle with an amazing red sauce and a slice of tortilla. Note, when ordering wine you generally receive a tapas plate for free and wine here is very cheap, cheaper than a bottle of water in some instances. Now I have not had all that wine at lunch, but just realised that it's a better deal than ordering 3 tapas THEN a tinto vino!
I should mention the hotel, it's a beautiful old monastery that has been renovated in part for guests. The rooms are spacious and very comfortable and it was a surprise to see a contingent of nuns helping make breakfast and generally looking after the guests. There's a beautiful chapel and this morning I could hear the 14 nuns that still reside here singing in mass.
So tomorrow is the start of the walk for me, Leon to Astorga, only 18km which is a nice start. I'm anxious and
excited and god knows I need to start walking as all this tapas has got to go somewhere.
Until the next time there is wifi.... Adios!
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