I was tapping away at my laptop, trying to figure out where I could go after my summer job in Salamanca, when one of my students came looking for me.
“I’m heading for León on Saturday. If you want to hitch a ride with me I’ll show you around!”
That’s how my northern Spain adventure began.
The city of León is in the region of Castilla y León, from which Castilian, or the Spanish language, originated. In modern-day Spain, several dialects are spoken throughout the varying provinces and regions; the most commonly known dialects are Gallego, Valenciano, and Catalán, though there are plenty of others. But back in the 9th century, it was the Castilian dialect that became dominant as the Kingdom of Castile spread to central and southern Iberia. Spanish later became infused with a variety of idiomatic influences from the Arabic, Basque, and French languages.
A bit of León…
Casa Botines by Gaudí
Hanging out with Gaudí, while he sketches my future palace.
León’s Gothic-style Cathedral
Antiguo Convento de San Marcos - a 16th Century monastery turned 5-star hotel known as the Parador.
A funny (or perhaps disturbing?) informational tidbit from my Leonesa friend: During Semana Santa, there is a traditional procession in León called The Burial of Genarín that “celebrates” alcohol. Genarín was an alcoholic beggar who was run over by a garbage truck in the 1920s, and now, almost a hundred years later, people get inebriated and march in a traditional procession with bottles of liquor to commemorate his death.
Ha! If you had to be commemorated in a traditional Semana Santa procession, what would it would be for?