Discovering León, Part Two: A Walking Tour of the City’s Historic Old Town

We stayed at the NH Plaza Major Hotel during our three-day visit to León and our walking tour starts from there. Along the way we will stop and stare at the four most impressive works of architecture that the city has to offer.

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Discovering León, Part One: Nothing but the Facts

We left our house in Castro Valley, California at 6am on Friday, May 19th and arrived in León, Spain around 5pm on Saturday, May 20th — three car rides, two air flights and one train ride later. We already knew several things about León and soon learned a lot more.  Most of them were facts but some were what has recently become known as alternate facts. Here are some of the most important:
First of all, it’s pronounced “lay-own,” not “lee-on.”

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MM 4-09 Looking Up at the World Trade Center

After our trip to Spain and Portugal last month we flew to New York City and stayed there for four days before flying the rest of the way home. We walked around the city a lot and one day visited the World Trade Center and 9-11 Memorial. I took a lot of pictures looking up at all the skyscrapers. This one will be my entry to this week’s Monochrome Madness Challenge.

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More photos of the Dom Luis I Bridge in Porto

I made a mistake in describing the photo I took for this week’s Monochrome Madness Challenge (see here). My memory tricked me. I thought this was the photo I took after exiting the funicular one day to spend the afternoon strolling up and down the Ribeira and cruising up and down the Rio Douro. But one of my readers (Disperser, see his comment following my posting) then asked a question which led me to examine all the pictures I took of the Dom Luis Bridge and I then discovered my error: the picture was taken the day before when we hopped off the sightseeing bus on the Gaia side of the bridge. So that photo was from the Gaia side, not Porto, and the hillside behind the bridge is Porto, not Gaia.

My examination came up with 31 photos that included at least a portion of the bridge and so I decided to do another posting and show you all the nine best of those 31.

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MM 4-08 Walking along the Douro River

After our nine-day journey along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain we took a bus to Porto, Portugal and spent another three days there. One day we took the three-minute ride on the Funicular dos Guindais down to the river to visit the Ribeira District, probably the most popular tourist spot in town. Shortly after exiting the funicular I took this picture of people walking along the river near the Dom Luis I bridge, one of several that span the Douro in Porto. It will be my entry for this week’s Monochrome Madness Challenge.

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Why we went to Spain, Portugal and New York: An Overview of Our 2017 Vacation

My sisters Betty and Marie are avid walkers and when they heard that my wife and I were interested in visiting the Camino de Santiago de Compostela this year they expressed an interest in joining us. But when they realized that neither my wife nor I planned to walk very much on The Way they changed their plans and signed up for a two-week Road Scholars tour that would allow them to walk 5 to 7 miles a day. So we then finalized our plans by agreeing to follow them and stay relatively close for the last nine days of their tour. Then we would all go to Porto for three days and finally stop off in New York City for four days on the way home.

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We’re Back from Our Annual Spring Vacation

This year we traveled to northern Spain and Portugal and on  the way back stopped in New York City for four days before flying back home. For the first nine days of our trip we followed the thousands of pilgrims who walk across northern Spain every year on the French route of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino de Santiago de Compostela ends at the Cathedral in Santiago. Here is a view of the cathedral’s clock tower (torre da berenguela) at its southeast corner, the intersection of Praza da Quintana and Praza das Pratarias. The south facade to the left of the clock tower provides the main entrance to the cathedral nowadays as the magnificent western facade is undergoing extensive renovations. It didn’t take us long to discover that most of the area’s popular tapas bars and restaurants can be found south of the cathedral.

Click on the photo to see a larger version of the photo.

It takes an average of 33 days for a pilgrim to walk 500 miles from the French side of the Pyrenees to the Galician town of Santiago de Compostela. But we started our Camino journey nowhere near the Pyrenees and preferred to ride buses and trains on our trip and only walked along those portions of the Camino that went through the towns of Leon and Ponferrada and the final stretch that terminated at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

This was our third trip to Spain in the last eight years and our second to Portugal. We spent three nights each in Leon, Ponferrada and Santiago and then took the bus to Porto, Portugal where we stayed another three nights. Then we flew to New York City for four nights, our longest stay ever in that city.

In tomorrow’s posting I will cover most of the reasons why we chose the places we traveled to this year and then I’ll describe our adventures in Leon in subsequent posts.



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