Monday, November 15, 2010

What is the prettiest cathedral in Castilla y Leon?

Be careful in how you answer that questions amigos, you could spark a war between leoneses (people from Leon) and burgaleses (people from Burgos). They love to joke with each other about who has the prettier cathedral and which has the better morcilla (blood sausage). This weekend I went to a casa rural in Leon with Alberto (pictured above) and his friends. Half of the group was from Leon and half were from Burgos. Which province had a better cathedral was a debate all weekend. On Friday night we drove to the middle of nowhere Leon to find the casa rural we were staying at. Casas rurales are located all throughout pueblos in Spain. They can either be a bed and breakfast type deal where there are owners that cook for you in the morning or it can be an empty house that you rent out with a lot of people. The house that we stayed in was kind of like a cabin with a fireplace and everything. It was really relaxing to sit by the fire and talk (although sometimes I got lost with the 8 conversations going on). We even roasted chestnuts! I felt like I was in a Nat King Cole song, minus that it isn't Christmas yet. We woke up on Saturday morning to go on a hike through the mountains in Leon. Unfortunately, we didn't have great weather so we didn't do the entire 5 hour loop as planned. It had rained the night before and was cloudy and foggy. We started hiking on a cow path through the mountains and it was absolutely beautiful. Everytime I go to a new region of Spain, it never ceases to amaze me that the landscape can be so different. In Leon, everything was so green and all the leaves on the trees were changing. Although I was trying to dodge cow poo and slippery rocks, I had to look up in awe at the huge rocks surrounded by mist all around us. It was amazing! Here are some pictures from the hike.

After a 3 hour hike we headed to the only restaurant around for some cocido de Leon which is a 3 course meal consisting of soup followed by chickpeas and vegetables and finishing with an assortment of meat. Think that's a lot of food? Well fasten your seatbelts, there is a dessert plate coming. It was the best desserts I've had in Spain, truffles, turon cake, flan, natillas, and cheese cake. I was in heaven. The best part about huge Spanish lunches is that just when you think you are going to have to have a siesta in your chair. They bring out the coffee and digestive liquor to resuscitate you (side note although I was awake I had to be rolled out of the restaurant). We headed back to the casa rural for a shower and some down time. Even though I was not in the least hungry at dinner, one of the girls Maria made us a light meal of some mashed potatoes and fried pork fat. Did I mention I am trying to lower my cholesterol? Well, I am slowly discovering Spain is the worst country to do that in haha.

The next day we headed to Leon, which was about 30 minutes away. From there we walked around the city and went tapeando, or eating tapas. We would stop in one place order a beer and get a tapa that they gave you for ordering. However, we would never spend much time in each bar. The idea was get your drink and food, spend about 15 minutes eating and drinking then move on to find the next one. I think we went to about 5 or 6 in all and it was really fun (and delish of course). After we all said goodbye to one another I went to take a look at the Leon cathedral to try and decide if it was prettier than the Burgos cathedral. Although it had the most beautiful stained glass windows of any cathedral in Spain, I think the prettiest cathedral is...Sevilla's!!! Hahaha well you can decide for yourself:

The Burgos Cathedral
The Leon Cathedral

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