After 9 days walking though tiny villages, we were excited to arrive in a ‘big city’ again. León is a typical Castilian town – lacking the vibrant colours that the south is famous for, but equally enthralling through the shadowy narrow lanes of the historic centre which windtheir way towards the imposing gothic Cathedral. Unlike its counterpart in Burgos, the Cathedral in León doesn’t have a towering presence over the centre of town – it’s hard to even see until you emerge into the plaza that surrounds it. But once you are inside, the spectacular stained glass windows are awe inspiring, illuminating the cold stone interior with striking colours.
Wandering out of the skinny streets on our way to stock up at the supermercado, we stumbled upon a building straight out of a fairy tale (or maybe a Harry Potter film). Casa de los Botines is actually a Gaudi design and although not as wild as some of his other work, such as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona or the gingerbread houses in Parque Güell, it certainly stands out amongst the otherwise conservative architecture in León.
As the rain closed in again, we set ourselves up in a cozy little bar and attempted to eat back the 3 kilos we’d lost over the past weeks. A smooth jazz rendition of The Doors’ Light my Fire invited locals to pop in for a beer and a chat with the bartender. I love the Spanish philosophy towards eating and drinking. Spanish people believe that if you’re having a drink then you’ll need to eat and vice-versa. Little biscuits and mini-doughnuts might come with your coffee and olives, tapas or chips with your drinks. More often than not a bottle of vino de mesa is included in your €9 menú del día. Now if that’s not a healthy mindset, I don’t know what is.