Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 24 Camino de Santiago July 29, Leon

Leon... If you had told me three months ago that I'd be on the Camino for 24 days, I would have thought you were nuts.  Yet, here I is...  I have officially either passed everyone I started with or they have passed me up.  No worries.  People keep popping up from long ago.  The guy in the bunk next to me last night, Gunther...yes, that's right!  What a memory you have, is the same Gunther from Berlin who is a retired sanitation worker that bunked above me in St. Jean Pied du Pont.  Poor guy, still tries to talk to me in German.  He was full of welts from bedbugs!
    First picture of the day, may be the best of the trip.  Gotta love it.  Makes me think of Nicholas when he was little and would follow me around the yard saying, "I'm a worker man!"  What happened to that guy!?!?!  Get a job kid! ha!
The goal today was 22k to Leon, which is famous for their gothic cathedral.  You hear about it and the one in Burgos the most.  There are huge differences, but one thing I found really interesting was that when they built it beginning in 1250, there were only 5,000 people living in Leon!  That's Payson!  Imagine Payson building one of these...of course, it would be a rodeo grounds.

    What is different about this Gothic cathedral and others, is that about this time, architects discovered that they didn't need to make the walls solid stone.  The belief, until 1250 was that the walls had to be solid, or the cathedral would crumble under it's own weight.  BUT NO!!!  It wasn't true!  The previous architects had wasted lots of stone and created huge dark cathedrals.  This one is huge, but has tons of stain glass in it!
    Okay, stain glass is not measured by tonnage, it's measured by square meters and in the Leon cathedral, there are 1,800 square meters of stain glass.  For you non Europeans, that's 19,375 square feet of stain glass.  If your house is 1500 square feet, that would be like 13 houses in wall to wall stain glass.

Just to give you an idea of how big the cathedral is, look at the size of the crown on top of the cathedral.  Okay, she is a short lady, but still,  that's a to of weight to be on top of something so high over people's heads.

Leon also has a reputation as one of the cleanest cities in Spain.  Personally, I think the cities in the north are overall much cleaner than the cities in the south.  In the north, they park on the sidewalks, in the south, they drive on the sidewalks.  Okay, not exactly.

    Leon has a super tourist/pedestrian friendly area around the cathedral.  It is full of bars, restaurants, ice cream shops, souvenir shops, etc.  It's fun to walk around.  Sunday must be seriously old ladies night out.  And they stay out.  One group of ladies commandeered everyone one of the tables at three different restaurants, all nursing one drink...for 3 hours!

 One of the restaurants had a pilgrim's menu and boy did I enjoy it.  Water and bread!  Yep, a true pilgrim's menu...okay, it also came with a 1st course of  artichokes and ham followed by a 2nd course of grilled fish.  What kind, I do not know...or care.  It was dead, cooked and eaten!  3rd course was cheese cake.  Life ain't all bread and water, ya know!

    Is anyone happy with their Senate?  I think it's the same everywhere.  In fact, I'm beginning to wonder if it's just a natural feeling of representative government.  Not that we should change...every system will have its pitfalls, but... this sign says, "Thank you Senators, for betraying the people of Leon".

I thought this was a Mafia thing.  Bit overkill with the concrete, don't you think?  Apparently, he wasn't well thought of by someone.  Tough neighborhood!!

“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.” 
 Robert Frost