Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Day in Leon

Spending a day in a beautiful cosmopolitan city with medieval roots is always a treat. In spite of a cool cloudy day, we walked around the city, took care of some future travel arrangements and just enjoyed being here.
Our first stop out was the fairytale-looking Casa Botines (photo 1), designed by the famous Catalan architect Gaudi in 1891. Unfortunately, it is now a bank building, but it is well worth contemplation from the exterior.
Then we walked to Plaza San Martin and Plaza Mayor, taking in the sights of all the old buildings.(photo 2- El Consistorio -old town hall - 1667)
Michele went back to the room to rest and I indulged in one of my favorite past times, "urban hiking" and shopping. I know, I know, I have no room for anything, but you never know what gems you might find. Indeed, I did. First stop, a small boutique run by a lovely young artist (photo 3) who sold hand painted bookmarks for 1.6€. I told her I am an artist, too and she wanted to see my pictures of my work. What a delight.
Then to a curio shop full of "found objects." I knew it held a treasure for me and it did - a very unique silver spoon for only 10€ to add to my collection. The proprietor was thrilled to make the sale and very proud of his shop (photo 4).
From there I was hungry so I stopped into a bread store that sold a pastry with layers of cheese and vegetables. I don't know what it is called but it was delicious.
Again, the young women were adorable. (Photo 5).
And finally to the tobacco shop where stamps are sold (photo 6). Such an odd combination.
Later Michele and I went walking again and we ran into our friend Perry. The 3 of us had to go for churros and chocolate, a popular afternoon treat. The chocolate drink is very thick and rich and the churros were fresh from the hopper. Dipped in chocolate, they melted in your mouth.
After a brief rest, we met a large group of pilgrims for drinks and then met Perry, Sabina, Gerri and Phil, all from Holland at a restaurant near the Cathedral. We sat at a round table and had the best meal of the trip there - an incredible salad and perfect sea bass, topped off with a chocolate torte. I was impressed that these 4 people welcomed our company and spoke English with us when they could have had dinner with just the 4 of them and spoken Dutch. But as Gerri said, "Why would we do that and miss out on your company?" Such lovely people.
We walked past the Cathedral on our way back to our hotel and were treated to a magnificent sight. (Photo 7).

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