Sunday, September 1st
Cafe Rio Luna
The old guy next to me has just ordered something he has to spoon out of a cup, wish I knew what it was, so I could have one as well. But, I'll just have to be content with the cafe solo grande.
Woke at Pilgrim Time, around 6:30, and just reading the Pilgrimage Road, but decided to just be a tourist today, rather then the good peregrino, and not carry the guide with me, just see what happens. Maybe nothing.
The old guy has gone.
Cathedral. Walked into the plaza as the bells were tolling, a few deeper ones announce that the time itself is about to be tolled. Then the time itself, nine chimes, higher tones.
There's no other tourists here, yet. Just me. Sitting in this pew, watching the morning sun illuminating the glass above the altar. Of the apostles featured up there, Saint James shines brightest.
Another freebie chocolate, and more hygienically sealed toothpicks then you could poke a toothpick at. And lordy, a guy has just walked into the bar, trying to sell watches, and fishing tackle, and electric drills still in their packing cases. Wondering which warehouse got done over last night. He's sharing some kind of joke with the barman.
Okay, he's gone now, probably gone to the next cafe.
Been wanders, from leaving the Cathedral. Buying bread, baguettes, for today and maybe tomorrow morning. Vaguely panicked, as not that much is open on Sunday, including the supermercados, but the some of the panaderias were doing business. Through the streets, passing San Isadoro's, then the Irish Pub, Molly Malone's Leon, down the main drag, wandering the medieval area. A priest crossing against the 'no walk' sign, thinking that well, if he can do it, then so can I. Then another priest walking through the same area, trying to walk purposefully, but not really succeeding. I guess if he was successful he wouldn't be out walking the streets at this time on a Sunday morning.
Still the backpackers, pilgrims, tourists, roll into town. Photographing each other, wandering, looking up then looking down at their maps, maybe wondering where the hell the albergue is, maybe not. Maybe they're conscious, too, that they're part of the pilgrimage tradition, that for over a thousand years pilgrims have been filing into this town, seeing the same Cathedral, looking at the same images, the same stone, the same stained glass, the same paintings, worshipping the same God and saints and angels, all making the same way to Santiago, walking the same streets, crossing the same rivers on probably the same bridges, but all thinking different thoughts.
And again, lordy lordy, another salesman has just wandered in, similarly loaded up with watches, fishing tackle and electric drills. I wonder if they assume that people who find their way to a bar on a Sunday morning, are actually somehow in the market for a new watch, or that they actually meant to find a hardware shop instead.
The Bluenet is open, but first I have to mention the shop across the street. Captain America's, and a shrine in the window. Mary with the infant Jesus, on the crotch of a pair of knickers. Holy Bejaysus, I'm having fantasies over that one already.
Pans. For the lunch of champions, for the last time.
The bells of the Cathedral, ringing on. Calling people, to what? Can't be Mass.
Wanders, fairly long, although maybe it just felt that way in the heat, trying to walk on the shady side of whatever street took my fancy. Down through the old area, towards the bullring, towards the river. Discover that there's a Sunday market happening. It's huge.
Clothes. Embroidered jeans, jackets, shirts, more bras than there are tits in Spain, knickers, mirrors, some with religious motifs of Last Suppers, everything a doper could possibly want except the dope, t-shirts, and almost parted with 11 euros for the Magö de Oz t-shirt, with the demon fiddler leading a willing Dorothy astray, bit then noticed the dinosaur in the background, there's antiques, junk, old pieces of outdated technology, sweet stalls, olives, belts, CDs and cassettes, all your favourite Flamenco Stars, hair pins and combs, and the people move up one side of the line of stalls, and down the other, buying, just looking, while the stall assistants looking a little animated as it's close to closing time.
Then, I'm back at Avenida de Roma, didn't really know it until I reached the end of the market stalls.
More wanders. Felt like another long walk, crossing a railway line somewhere, just following any street that looked vaguely interesting, passing cafe bars, then ending up at the Plaza de Regle again, across from the Cathedral, the afternoon sun again playing on the reliefs.
Inside, again. This time the stain glass window is sending beams of coloured light down to the flagstones, and I'm standing in a pool of violet light. Magic.
I don't think I'll be visiting the Cathedral again, I've "done it", properly I think. Still, went into the Chapel, the one with the "praying only" sign, the one that tourists flow in and out of, whatever Spanish they know suddenly disappearing. Still, it was quiet, and sat for a while, just thinking, and hoping that everything turns out as I've planned. For the next week at least.
There seems to be some confusion in here. It's Irish to start with, beginning with the Guinness on tap, and the framed photographs around the walls. Why, there's Cork Town Hall, and the guy in that one is playing Irish pipes, and hey, that's freshly cut peat from the bog that's being hauled in that cart, and there's posters and signs from Dublin, Hinck Brothers Cloth House Dublin, and others have that distinctive Irish lettering. In here, it's all Irish, well, except for the music, and like it was in Sahagun, it's Spanish pop.
The 'snugs' in here are nice though. High backed double seats, with a old packing crates as tables, this one has 'John Jameson Hons' stencilled onto it.
Still here. Maybe it's the Irishness in here, but feeling a tad depressed, maybe I should be going to Dublin when the Camino is done, maybe it's the music which has been switched to all this moody stuff, maybe it's just my time of the month, maybe I've been in Leon just that half day too long, wandering the same streets, or accidentally turning up in the same places all over again. The diners will be appearing soon, dressed well and eating well, and ordering those huge glasses of ice-cream. Helidos.
Nailed it. It was the ice-cream that did it. The huge bowls being brought to the two women dining in the main street. Had an urge to order just what they were having, but didn't.
Back, nearly to
the hostel, to the 'La Chambileria Valenciana', the ice-cream place at the
roundabout with the fountains, the one with the bronze statue of somebody
on a column.
Yep, that was all it took, a mocha flavoured ice-cream, to eat at this outside table as the traffic goes by, and other people eat ice-creams at other tables. One old woman eats hers with a spoon, others are having theirs' in a dish with toppings. Whatever. Feeling a whole lot better. Damn, feeling so good I think I'll have a coke as well. Yep, one coke, 1.05 euros, from a machine, and I'll just bloody sit here and read until I've finished Part 1 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Still here. The statue in the fountain is of Glorieta Guzman el Bueno, at least that's what it's called on the map. The Vodaphone sign tells me it's 26° and 21:00, while the Macdonalds sign, on the other side, would have me believe it's 28° and 21:01.
Finished Part 1.
Maybe it's just
warmer on the other side of the fountain.
Haven't finished the coke yet, but it's getting too dark to read. I'll just sit for a while.