I’m sitting at a table overlooking the plaza near the Cathedral of Leon. We’ve arrived in the middle of a fiesta to honour Leon’s patron saint, San Froilan. The shops are shut but the cafes, restaurants, and bars are doing a thriving trade. Two or three beggars are working the crowd. There are a few pilgrims – they’re easy enough to spot … it’s in the stiff legged gait. Tourists are crammed into the tacky little mock train (yes, Napier people, they have one here, too, and in Burgos), snapping photos with their iPhones as they trundle past.
Likely for the first and last time in my life, I’m tempted to get myself a ticket – blame it on pilgrims’ feet.
Leon marks the end of the Meseta and we celebrated in anticipation of the fact last night with some fellow walkers at the small restaurant, La Curiosa, in Mansilla. Rumour has it they have a Michelin star. The only evidence I have of that, apart from the rumour, is this salad (and the other two courses).
It was the most delicious of my life. Those who had the cauliflower gratin were equally enthusiastic.
Afterwards, I was entertained by the graffiti above my head in our bunk. Make of it what you will.
As far as today’s walk is concerned, we’d heard much about how truly dull and uninspiring it is. But if we’d followed the crowd and caught the bus we’d have missed out on a setting full moon at sunrise. If ever there was a time I wished I’d squeezed my travel tripod into my back pack, it was this morning.
We did turn today’s walk into a bit of a cafe crawl – stopping at three, if you count our breakfast stop.
It was fun until it wasn’t, and I had to slog through the early afternoon heat to get here in a reasonable time.
The party around me is getting more crowded, more noisy. It’s time to go explore. Tomorrow, we shop.