Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Sahagun, Leon and Astorga

The Albergue in Sahagun is a Church somewhat restored with some impressive stairs and vaulted(!) ceiling. We managed to find some Camino family to have dinner with, more German lessons for me. Meanwhile a wedding was happening in the town , in fact at the hotel across from the Albergue… not much sleep this night.
Morning comes and we hang out at the patisserie, then wander the streets looking at the churches, stonework and old buildings walking up and down the narrow streets. Somehow we missed the Roman bridge, next time I'll buy a guide book!
We are taking the train to Leon. Apparently a long walk through an urban environment, not so attractive.The train ride is cheap and a treat to move so fast so far in so little time.
Leon is huge, a real city after so many villages. We jump into a hotel, a heritage building with minuscule balconies (just like all the apartments we've been walking under) shower (a real towel!) and go explore. Once a year first week of October the medieval fair takes place. Good timing. A visual and gustatory feast, sheep cheese, sausage/chorizo, baked potatoes, sweets…
These are rest days. We meet the German fellows who are heading home to return next year, sit drinking Cerveza con Limon watching the people. We explore taking many pictures, trying the local cuisine, finishing one evening with hot sweet mint tea and baklava at the arabic section of the fair. Earlier we get pressed as the crowd swells past shops with hand made marionettes, ancient texts in a bookstore window, hawks, owls and peregrine falcons next to old puzzles and games, soap makers and perfume distillers.
Gaudi designed a residence here, now a bank, we go looking and find it around the corner from our hotel! duh...
We take the bus out of Leon to Astorga, another Gaudi residence now a museum, fascinating stuff, side by side with the cathedrals, monasteries and convents. Amazing buildings everywhere, an excavation of a Roman home with some mosaic floor still intact, chocolate makers and second hand stores. We follow the stone wall around the old city and discover an amazing clock(to me anyways!)
Our Albergue has the squeakiest stairway ever imaginable.The bano//toilets downstairs get lots of visitors all night long. Everyone gets up early and heads out into the cold dark morning air. We follow the yellow arrows on a sidewalk through residential and commercial until we're walking beside the highway. Meet up and visit with a couple from Powell River. The ambulance drives by a few times.This section has little water, shade or bars! It feels good to have the backpack again and be moving forward.

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