after a good look around the cathedral we went in search of tolerable rest-day sustenance. one downside to the larger towns: you pay more for mediocre food and, in most of the areas we found ourselves, really good food proved elusive. couldn’t complain about the food, exactly; it wasn’t any worse than your average bocadillo or bar sandwich — it just cost more.
but, as in León, people watching tended to be more interesting — fewer of our fellow peregrinos whom we’d seen every day for the last 20. in fact, after our day off in León we didn’t see many of the people we started off with ever again. they didn’t take a rest day, arrived in Santiago earlier than we did and, presumably, headed off home. anyway, we found a decent cafe and sat outside with our small cervezas and bocadillas to watch people — Saturday shoppers, families coming or going from weddings, crazy homeless people (and I say “crazy” as a person who regularly sees non-crazy homeless people out and about in town), American college students just wrapping up their semester or just starting their mini-terms or summers abroad. lots of dogs. more dogs than I recalled seeing in any other city we’d passed through yet. and fewer babies. saw lots of babies in Pamplona but fewer in Burgos and León. perhaps different population demographics, perhaps all the Leonese babies were at home sleeping.
our second evening in León, after enjoying some wine and reading on our balcony, I discovered the Eurovision song contest on one of the television channels available in our room. I’d seen a fair number of adverts with the Spanish entry but didn’t realize how imminent the competition was until I happened upon it that Saturday night in León. watched about half of it before the signal went out including the eventual winner, Loreen from Sweden (as I discovered the following morning). we also saw Russia’s entry (Buranovskiye Babushki) and, after discovering that he’d never heard of Lordi much less seen or heard their entry, made Andy watch their 2006 Eurovision-winning performance of Hard Rock Hallelujah (if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend doing so). in the process of looking up the Lordi video, I also learned that Celine Dion won the contest in the mid-90s as did ABBA in 1974 with “Waterloo.” Ireland’s won the contest more than any other country and I can’t say that surprises me.
anyway — León offered a bit of history, a bit of contrast, plenty of rest and reading, and a little bit of crazy nationalistic European song contest.