So what do you do on a rest day in León? Answers are many – sightseeing, visiting the cathedral, taking a historical tour, going to the museums like Casa Botines, planning your route forward, meeting other pilgrims… Or you can follow my rather boring lead and do lots of laundry and invent clever ways of hanging it to dry in front of the window in your room?
After all that hard work I went out for breakfast, then bimbled around a good bit and got some gold dust items in a farmacia – Gehwol original foot cream! I could have done a little dance, if only my feet weren’t still sore. I sat down in a lovely sunny square to celebrate my good fortune on the foot fixing front, met some pilgrims I had met before and had a chat, and then moved on. I was planning to take a beer on my friend Mark McCarthy’s behalf in his favourite bar in León, and considering he writes guide books I was expecting it not to be a massive chore. It wasn’t – I enjoyed sitting in the shade just people watching.
Then on a whim I decided to walk down the little side street I had been sitting in, and stumbled over a very well stocked pilgrim equipment shop! I finally got to see the new model Altus up close and personal and decided against it – colour was very dull mustard and weight too high – but I did however find a pair of Altus rain trousers, which I didn’t know existed. Very light at 170g – the man had digital scales behind the counter, of course, for weight conscious pilgrims – and big and long enough! This rest day was really paying off. And as if that wasn’t enough, as I went to pay I noticed Mark’s León to Santiago guidebook was stocked on the counter!
Obviously all this called for a celebration, so I went back to the room with my treasures and then headed out to find a table or at least a chair in the so called wet quarter, Barrio Húmedo, where food and drink are plentiful and good. It was Friday, after all.
And find it I did. In a bustling outdoor space where the waiter ruled supreme and somehow managed to keep an eye on everyone at all times, topping up, clearing plates, recommending dishes. I ended up ordering young leeks with cecina, cured beef, a León specialty, and reduction of cherry, of all things, but it was delicious. I may have had a cheeky dessert too … And then reluctantly I went back to the room for a sensible early night.