CASTILLA Y LEON
18th June 2014
As we stepped into the streets of Leon we felt a heavy weight lifted off our shoulders. Soon we would be leaving the region of Castilla and Leon behind us, moving on from these monotonous stretches of farmland and heading for the more exiting scenery of Galicia.
Known as the Mesetas or Tierra de Campos, this plateau region 800m above sea level is entirely covered in cereal crops which form endless horizons broken only by the occasional view of a bell tower in the distance. The size and extent of this land is truly overwhelming. Here the sun shines bright and the sky is crystal blue. The wind blows so hard that the undulating crops sound like waves breaking on a shore. I cannot even begin to imagine the manpower necessary to tend to these lands and yet the villages we walk through appear deserted, nearly abandoned. I never expected to see houses built with mud and yet there they were, some crumbling, others still withstanding the wear and tear of time.
A couple of days are enough to enjoy this scenery. After over a week of the same view I am now ready for change: I need change! It is starting to get hot and walking through these fields where you cannot even count on the shade of trees is becoming wearisome. Thankfully, Leon marks the boundary to this region and in a few days we will be able to taste fresh mountain air again: walking up hill is always more exciting.
Until then I am happy now to enjoy strolling around the streets of this historic city. Like in many other Spanish cities, the colours of the streets of Leon flow freely like paint on canvas. The range of architectural styles we have seen prove the city’s ancient origins. Founded over 2000 years ago as a roman military base, it later became the capital of the kingdoms of Asturias and Leon and now encompasses the hectic lifestyle of a modern city. Every street seems to lead us to the splendid gothic Cathedral, so big it is impossible to capture in a single picture. Even Gaudi left his mark here. His design of the Casa Botines captures the true essence of this city, a cross between ancient and modern, and all in perfect harmony.