Fri 9 Oct - Day 25: León rest day

471km walked. 314km left to walk (no change from yesterday)

Ahhh... Such a nice relaxing morning. I woke up before 6am and after mucking around for a while, I went back to sleep until after 7am. Yes, sheer luxury. 

Breakfast, Internet and doing a bit of packing / repacking and before you know it, time was 9.30am. Time to move the sorry backside...

The below town verification is just outside my hostel. A selfie and I will remember where I was too. 
Even at 9.30am it was fricking cold out there. I was definitely underdressed with my hiking shirt and fleece. A third layer and gloves would not have gone astray. 

Plaza Mayor below was pretty quiet in the morning but preparations are underway for whatever the festival is for. The building here is the original 17th century barque town hall.  
I zigged and zagged a bit (no, not yet drunk) and shot some pics of the limited remains of the old stone wall.  
The name León by the way is not derived from lion although you may think so given the depictions of lions everywhere. 

No, León comes from legion as it used to be a Roman military garrison and base for its VIP legion. At least, that is the explanation from my guide book. 
As the space for stamps / sillos is running out in my credentials book, I decided to get a second book. The requirement for being awarded a "Compostela" certificate is 2 stamps per day for the last 100km. 

This is the place to do that. The local monastery. I had an odd conversation with a nun who eventually wandered down the building somewhere and came back with...
... a second credential book, identical to my first book. Bring on the sillos. 
The area around Santa Maria de Carbajal as the monastery is called is lovely and tranquil. This area just opposite the monastery is called Plaza Grano and there are only rocks on the ground of the whole square. 

Next stop was the one and only place in León that was a "not to miss" for me. The San Marco Parador at Plaza San Marcos (unsurprisingly enough). It's so huge that I had problems getting it all into one single photo frame. 
The centre of the parador. 
I joined forces with a fellow pilgrim who sat on the square and checked it all out. 
I left my pilgrim buddy after a while as he was still admiring the lot. 
I stepped inside the parador to check it out. Standing on the inside looking out. 
These days, the old "western headquarters of the military order of Saint James" according to the guide book and whatever that means, is a very upmarket and very beautiful hotel / hostel. 

The lobby looks like this:
The commodor or dining hall. 
This is one of the breakout areas, for drinks and relaxation. 
Of course, all these old elegant buildings had to have a courtyard. Not bad spot for a drink or three. 
Looking the other way from the photo above. 
The Parador building also houses Museo San Marcos, once presumably a place of worship for that military order. 
The signs are there. Dignitaries buried inside and under the floor.  
It looked like you could still make a confession here. There was somebody sitting inside that confession booth where the lights are, waiting for business? I didn't have anything to confess today so I gave it a miss. 
I then spent a bit of time on Plaza San Macro, sat on a bench and nibbled on nuts and a banana, reflecting on the whole thing. The parador was very impressive. I am glad that I checked it out. 

The same promenade that I flaneured on yesterday continues all the way to the Parador so I strolled it back. 
No tip toeing on words here. 
9th of October was actually today's date. Do they somehow change the grassed date every day?
Of course, I had to check out the one Gaudi building in town. It's called Casa Botines. 
The buildings entrance and a sign verifying Gaudi as the architect. 
Time was approaching "menú del día" time so I strolled back to Plaza Grano opposite the monastery for lunch. I sat underneath the right umbrella below. 
Ensalada mixta for Primero once again. Yes I know it's mostly derived from cans but at least I get some veggies. 

A generous half a liter of wine was included...
...which meant siesta afterwards. 

I am beginning to understand the Spanish lifestyle. If you are continually drink that much wine in the middle of the day, you need a siesta. 

Later, I had dinner with Marg and Win. We were due to meet outside their hostel at 7pm but they were late so I had a beer across the road while waiting. Selfie:  
The girls had received a local tip for a local tapas bar to go to so that's where we went. 
The ceiling was somewhat low. Of course I hit my head. But only once. 
Dirt cheap as tapas was free if you ordered drinks. We ordered 2 rounds of drinks; 4 vino Tinto and 2 Baileys which was Win's preferred choice. All in all it cost 10.60€. 

But on top of that you got free tapas. 

This was the first tapas plate for us three to share:
And these were the second plates. One plate per person. So a lot of finger food for free. Not the healthiest though...
The week long Leon festival was in full
swing, celebrating the local Saint (that was the way it was explained to me; every region has a local Saint and the Saint is celebrated one week per year). 

A book sale or book exchange formed part of the celebrations. 

Anyway, let's finish off the day with the Leon Cathedral lit up at night as I get home around 9.30pm. 
I have planned a long 32km walk tomorrow. I feel that I need to get some mileage behind me as rain is then forecast for the next two days. 

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