Monday, May 16, 2022

Day 23 -15 May - Puente Villarente to Leon

As Fred Astaire famously sang:

Heaven……I’m in heaven                                      

And my heart beats so that I can hardly think        

How could I ever be more in the pink                     

Than getting free delicious food with every drink

With only seven miles ahead of us today, there was no need to rush this morning. We took our time and strolled down to breakfast to find…… the hotel bar was closed. No suave, sophisticated David Hunter to bid us farewell. No Meg Richardson sorting out emergency breakfasts in lieu of last night’s thunder storm. No Benny to divert us from the wobbly scenery and even wobblier script. No nothing. Nada. Zilch.

We had a coffee and Napolitana in town and then that was that until Leon itself. The approach into the city was genuinely meh. Extremely unimpressive. This was not trying to win me over at all but at least we had completed six sevenths of the walk. The final seventh beckoned, we passed the old city walls and wow. Then a bit more wow. Suddenly, we were in iconic Spain. Narrow streets. Grand, four storey buildings with iron balustrades. The ground floor spaces a mix of retail, bars and restaurants. This was looking promising. We located our apartment, literally fifty metres from the cathedral. Stunning. View from our bedroom window below.

Having arrived at twelve noon, we had to resist the temptation to hit the town straight away. We lasted an hour. The city centre bars were just a dream. A free, delicious tapa with every drink. What more could a bloke ask for? I didn’t really want to leave bar no.1 but Mrs C made me. I didn’t really want to leave bar no.2 but Mrs C insisted. I was gutted to leave bar no.3 but, yet again, Mrs C was proven right by the ambience and tapa quality of bar no.4. It was like living in a dream. In bar no.5 we met up with Peter and Paul (USA) - I know they sound like a sixties pop group but I later googled them and sadly Mary is no more and it wasn’t them anyway - and in bar no.6 we saw Charles and Trudi (Austria) who we haven’t seen since Logroño a week back. Well, by now I was so in love with the world that I bought a bottle of red wine to celebrate Anglo-Austrian friendship. If Leon isn’t the world centre of peace and love then it bloody well ought to be. Mrs C allowed me to indulge in bar no.7 before dragging me back to the apartment at around eight o’clock where I fell asleep watching Real Betis versus Granada on the tele.

From an unpromising start, the city of Leon has forced itself to the top of my best-place-to-go-drinking-on-the-Camino listings. It has been a little bit of heaven. I will sleep well tonight.

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