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West France & Spain

Leon Travel Blog

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Cathedral of León

Bonjour, Merci I went to Spain- Hola!

France Towns- Calais (the port), Rouen in Normandy,  Bayeux, same, Mont Saint Michael and Bordeaux. I gathered 167 pictures of gothic churches.  And downloading now are 398 from Spain. There I visited Leon and Salamanca on my way to Lisbon now. I will post maybe 5 or more pics of each church.  The method of my madness is the west of both countries. After this I intend to stay central to east.

   I have been driving and sleeping little which is ok. I once took a 9 month trip around the US. This kind of time alone and in a car isn’t for everyone. Truth is more time in the car than out is a fu’cing shame but (since I have no cassette) I use the time for introspect. No worries though.

  The good point is I see what I intend to see and alittle more.  This may sound like tooting my horn but I have good perception and notice what many don’t so (I feel) I don’t bother dawdling around.  Brings up the bad points… a big part of any travel is social and that I have neglected. In my defense, in France it rained every day. Spain the people are friendly, warm but now that it is Winter and I plan on spending time in the south- I can be social there.  I did meet a  Brazilian and a German  in Leon.  They should have followed the Japanese.  The Japanese are methodical, somewhat asses when they travel in groups. Talking loudly and using their flashes when in a church but they do their homework.
Anyway Brazilian and I were talking and she “everyone wants to do what your doing.”  I like my life but every man has his calling I said. The grass always seems greener but the things I will miss I may never know... discuss the philosophy of choices and regret, etc...

Notes of interest:

Justin’s friend Matty rolls his own tobacco, and he rolls these little pinners (pot smokers know) and I rolled these big honkers- well after the throat cancer scare (me being a hypochriac), no more. In fact, it is economical and smart for life. All the tobacco that goes into a Malbaro is like two of my fat boys or like half dozen of Matty’s.  And isn’t it we just enjoy the first drag or so, jump start the system.  With tobacco prices in the stratosphere in Europe I decided to be economical.

As I have with sleeping and showering. I have made a B&B out of my car.

Taking little washes in the public restroom when none minds. I never been one to relax in the bath so what is a sink to wash ones hair and body?  Also, I got a comfy little suite going on too. 2 single futons, my sleeping bag on top cause it is washable. Cooler filled with goodies from Carrefour Supermarket. A tent and chair are snug against the back passenger door, cardboard blocks out the sun, I place them on the windows .  All said it is like a boyhood treehouse!  Boyhood treehouse or Thoreau’s Walden . Another thought- COTTON!!! Right now (not to offend) I am smelling German backpacker strength. This will be gone as soon as I wash my underarms but the shirts I chose are all polyester.

Outdoorsy, fast drying, keep the warmth in, etc …but the body odor could be used in comic book characters.  Oh what I would do for cotton.

 Back on point: Figuring gas is costing over $100 a day (serious truth!), if I plan on hauling around for a year or so I have to save where I can. I may try to make some place a temporary home, saves on gas, and I hope to pick up more Spanish. I can’t believe how much is coming back to me from 1 semester in high school. Ignorance is not bliss.  Things I did correct with an  exception to my personal feelings of a treehouse on wheels idea, I am very thankful I bought this wind up, light that never goes out flashlight, the TOM TOM GPS is way above the cut, tells where all the speed traps are and yes roads with  in a nice English accent.

 Camera with 3 rechargable batteries and my inverter for the lighter: 400W 2 plugs- it can run Hoover Dam on 12V.

Start with France. In Calais every car rockets off the ferry taking the one road leading directly to the motorway. There is no customs…  I do have David, the customs guy’s letter  saying ‘travel my dear boy the world is yours.’ My conscious always finagles its way into the picture so I asked the information desk in Roen, he called the EU customs and they said 3 months but I can (if I am special and who is more?) ask for an extension in the prefecture. Prefecture threw me but I am guessing immigration office.  So far to date the girls in Roen are by far the best lookers. Only there one day, made friends with the tobacco/bar owner (cheap bar) and all the girls coming in for their nicotine were beautiful.

All 8in. below super model quality!  Anyone and everyone I will say that there is nothing more attractive than that sweet sound of broken English with a French accent.  I want to ask stupid questions just so they must try English.  I did almost kiss a girl… (later in Bordeaux).  Very cosmopolitan town. Small alleyways filled with small cafes.  Three streets lined with antique stores. All this is in the center of the surrounding churches that are easily walkable.  My only bitch is you can only go in one (on a Wednesday).  The churches date  to the 13th C. Joan of Arc was executed in 1431 in front of one of these sanctuaries.  Bayuex is home of another of a gothic church but more importantly the longest tapestry or embroiderment (people argue).
This tells the story of the Norman invasion and how William became ‘the Conquer’ and King. Made in the 11th C. Really cool on details. There are tv shows on this but how cool is it to be able to touch (no, it is under glass) see it in front of me. Mont St. Michaels is a must. It is the postcard picture after all the Paris shots. The island with a church dedicated to the Angel Michael. Dates to 1213.  Because of the season I didn’t travel to Medoc or Champagne, Congac on my way to Bordeaux or Toulousse after. Bordeaux has two beautiful gothic churchs, most Arabic people I have seen to date. I figured more wine bars- not true. The shops seem to be owned by Arabs. That isn’t racist just a vivid image. The town itself looks pretty worn down, garbage everywhere but it is world heritage and one can find churches and buildings dating 1000 years old and still being used.
(Just run down) So I asked directions… broken English definitely not up to Rouen standards but the accent (yummy). We sat and talked, I bought her coffee and  our eyes met the whole time (tail wagging). Not even close to kissing! A wishful thought.  Day time and churches to go to- ugh.  Later I walked into a cocktail party, had a glass of wine and a few biscuits. The weather was shit the whole time until I got to the Spanish border- see the ocean view. Wow!

Gas is cheaper in Spain, don’t fill up on the French side. But much more in Portugal so do fill up.

In Spain, I stopped in Bilbao alittle off the border (100kms). Most towns in Europe lie on rivers.

It seems like a town in the midst of a growth spurt. Had my first Spanish tapas. Wonderful little bites, each bite is like 1.75 euro so with 2 black coffees (pst, that means expresso) I spent like 14 euro.  The coffees jolted me to Leon. Strange the bartender and this little customer girl wanted me to go up the northern coast- I asked about Leon and neither cared for it. The scenes along  the edge of the door frame gives a good picture of the time and country views at that time. In France very pious, Biblical with an affliction for gargoyles. Like a movie prop… ‘we got little lord Jesus here, oh hell where we going to put the gargoyle?’ But in Spain, the inquisition and ties to the Roman has the Popes all over the place. It is alittle over run with papacy but what is inside and the over the top grandiose of gold is really breath taking.
  I mean really when one walks in the Spanish gothic style you are literally looking up at this jaw dropping gold relief with egg fresco paintings all over. Quite impressive. Salamanca  has some wonders too- ooh la la. It is a university town filled with happy students and two maybe three worthwhile churches (one is a convent- must see). 

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Cathedral of León
Cathedral of León
Cathedral of León
Cathedral of León
Cathedral of León
Cathedral of León
Basilica of San Isidoro
Basilica of San Isidoro
Basilica of San Isidoro
Basilica of San Isidoro
Basilica of San Isidoro
Basilica of San Isidoro
Basilica of San Isidoro
Basilica of San Isidoro
Basilica of San Isidoro
Basilica of San Isidoro
the outside of the museum
the outside of the museum
the inside of the museum
the inside of the museum
the inside of the museum
the inside of the museum
the inside of the museum
the inside of the museum
the inside of the museum
the inside of the museum
Leon