Emergency surgery

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August 24th 2009
Published: September 30th 2017
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Fuente Foncalada - looks more like a giant Pre-Romanesque doghouse, than anything worth seeing.
Geo: 42.5999, -5.57175

Up and off to do some sightseeing before leaving for Leon - Oviedo is famous for pre-Romanesque architecture, but most of it was not readily accessible on foot, so I decided to check out Fuente Foncalada, which was one of a few examples close to the city centre. A bit of a disappointment!

Off to the cathedral to see the inside - there's a belief that if you turn three times the key found in the hand of the San Pedro statue and make three wishes, one of them will come true. I covered my bases by wishing three times for a Spanish wife. The hole was worn out by frequent turning by the visitors, and was in even worse shape after I spun that thing around 300 times and made 300 wishes identical to the first three.

The Mercado del Fontan was a typical Spanish market, but not much was going on here this morning. Not seeing anything that tempted me for breakfast, I went to a nearby bakery. After eating, the waitress left me a slip of paper, with the number 7 written on it - pretty expensive breakfast!!! When I inquired about it, it turned out that

Needing some fruit (I'm surprised the Spanish even have a word for fruit or vegetable, given the dearth of these items on any restaurant menus here) I picked up a banana, horribly green, the peel didn't actually peel off, it broke off into little pieces.
it wasn't the price, but the number of the server. I was supposed to take the slip of paper to the cashier, where they would calculate the total. The bakery was only so-so, but I would definitely return for the clientele! One had an Elena Anaya thing going on - in other words, the pinnacle of Spanish cuteness.

Walked around town a bit, then headed back to the pension to pick up my backpack before heading off to the bus station. Coincidence - I would be sitting in seat #38, the same seat number from yesterday. I hoped for another coincidence - that the bus attendant today would also be Maria, and if not, that it would be someone equally as beautiful!

I was looking forward to arriving in Leon and checking into Hostal Bayon, because I remember when I called to book the place, the girl answering the phone had a very sexy Spanish accent. But with my luck, she's probably a 65-year old granny!

Hopping off the bus, I gathered my backpack and realized that I had lost one of the waist-strap clips! Noooooooooooooooo!!! Anybody that has a big backpack like this knows that this is the most critical

Mercado del Fontan
piece of equipment, since this puts all of the weight onto your hip bones, and takes it off of your shoulders. It was a rather painful walk to the hostal, with all the weight on my shoulders. This could really suck if I can't find a replacement!

Luckily Ana, the owner of the hostal, was able to direct me to a store that might have the clip I needed. We also had a brief chat about the economy in Spain - she's noticed a sharp decline in the number of guests at her hostal this year, especially the number of foreign visitors. Things are pretty bleak in Spain right now.

After performing some emergency surgery on my backpack and rigging up the waist-band so that it would function somewhat as it should, I quickly ate my leftover pate and bread from lunch and headed off to sightsee. The leftovers weren't enough to fill me up, so I stopped at a grocery store to pick up some snacks before heading to the cathedral. The sky spit a few drops of rain as I walked, making me rue the fact that I forgot to bring an umbrella, which could be a big

I thought this looked pretty sick - a giant window full of sausages, looking like giant meat maggots. What the heck?
problem when I get to rainy Bilbao.

I relaxed on a bench across from the cathedral, and struck up a conversation with an old local couple. They left almost as soon as we started talking! Maybe I've just been spoiled with the incredible friendliness found in Galicia and Asturias, but I didn't expect them to run off so quickly!

Leon is a great walking town, with busy little pedestrian areas, and the lively Barrio Humedo (wet district), that is so named for the high density of tapas bars and large amounts of alcohol consumed there. I've got no problem having a sit down dinner by myself, but I feel too self-conscious about walking into a tapas bar and standing around by myself. I miss my boys! We could have had so much fun in Spain had the original trip here not fallen through!

I ended up back at the cathedral, and sat on the same bench as before, and chilled once again. While not as impressive or compelling as the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, it did have a little bit of that mystic energy that seemingly pulsates in the area surrounding Santiago's cathedral. The main plaza was a bit empty and

I had difficulty choosing an umbrella at the market - should I go with Snow White, Winnie the Poo, or Belle?
tranquil, and the evening chilly. It's a funny thing ... I'm not a religious man in any way, yet I've been able to have a number of very spiritual experiences over the years of traveling. Sitting at the cathedral tonight and enjoying its splendour in silence was definitely one of those.

There is a great debate that I have almost every evening of travel, when I come across it - kebab or no kebab, that is the question! It always happens late at night, because it's a great snack to have just before bedtime! Tonight, the kebab lost 😞

Additional photos below
Photos: 32, Displayed: 25



A breakfast of cafe con leche and a crappy glazed pastry, filled with marmelade. I can't wait for France, and some really great pastries.

A shopping mall, a bit of a trek from Oviedo's old town. Couldn't fit it all in the shot, but it looked a lot like a spaceship from Star Trek.

Too busy looking at the senoritas, I almost ran into this pole. It's not the first time this has happened to me in Spain: http://www.travelpod.com/travel-photo/pwong/canaries-2007/1199402340/dsc09895.jpg/tpod.html

On the brightside, I noticed this sign for Zara, where there is always a high concentration of senoritas!

Zara Home - just after leaving for the trip, a friend told me "Hope you bring home some senoritas to decorate the new place with!" Maybe Zara Home will sell me one? Or two? Or a dozen?

Zona mis cojones - I don't think this needs translation!

Real estate office named Santos. Ben, this is a sign you need to move to Spain and become a realtor. If you do, I'll be your first client!

On my way back to the pension, I saw a beautiful Spanish senorita walking with her boyfriend. I later saw them at the bus station, where the senorita looked at me and giggled, recognizing me from earlier - she probably though "He's followed us all the way here and is STILL checking me out!" Unfortunately, the boyfriend never left her side long enough for me to execute my new plan to get a Spanish wife - there was no opportunity for me to kidnap her and stuff her into my backpack!

I killed time at the station, having lunch of picnic supplies purchased earlier this morning. The pate was a bit jellyish, but flavourful - it would've been very good with some roasted peppers. The pate brought back memories of a picnic in Seville that John, Mary, Yvonne, and I had in the hotel room.

Apparently this on board display doesn't work on this bus, just like it didn't work on yesterday's bus. Unless this was just all a big coincidence, and exactly like yesterday, we were averaging 0 km/hr, were 0 km from our destination, and had traveled 0 km.

Probably most people think all of Spain is just like Andalucia, dry, hot, and desert-like with Moorish architecture. Up north, it's almost the opposite - wet, green, and while hot, not crazy hot like in the south.

Picked up this magazine on the flight from London to La Coruna - funny, the airline didn't seem to publish a magazine of its own, instead offering this psychology magazine. It was funny, because airline magazines are usually PG-13, but this one frequently discussed sex, and even had some mild nudity. Even funnier was the fact that it was a Spanish magazine, and instead of one of the multitudes of Spanish beauties at their disposal, the cover girl was ... Kirsten Dunst??!!??!?!??

I did have one extra backpack clip, but it's the male part, not the female one I needed. Two male parts were of no use to me! Though as Seinfeld famously once said, "Not that there's anything wrong with that!"

The store that saved my shoulders, by offering a backpack clip that sorta worked. At least the women working there weren't only sorta cute, they were very cute :) This is karma, because I broke one of the clips before, and had to replace it. The problem was that the replacement clips available from the store didn't quite fit properly. So I ended up grabbing a clip off an identical backpack for sale in the store, and rang that one through the till instead. Some where, some place, some guy is having troubles with his waist-belt clips. And if that guy is reading this blog, he's thinking "Serves you right, suck-ah!"

Though it was too small, I can make it work by slowly threading in the strap. But ... d'oh! The female portion didn't have a second slot for the strap, so there was no way of securing it, and that strap would loosen on its own.

The inner wannabe MacGyver took over and in the most half-assed engineering ever documented in the history of mankind, I managed to get things to work ... kinda ... I threaded the male clip back through the strap, as a bit of an anchor, to prevent it from loosening up by slipping back through the new female clip. I hope it doesn't explode when in use, and take out somebody's eye!

8th October 2009

Tricky. Go with the one with ears.

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