A classmate is a native Leonésa and I spent last weekend at her house, getting to know the city. I brought my beast of a camera, but all these pictures are from my phone, newly blessed with Instagram.
The bridge by the train station in San Sebastian:
Being in a Catholic country during Semana Santa (Holy Week) is a spectacle indeed, although the processions in the north aren’t worth a hill of beans compared to the ones in the south. Nevertheless, groups of the faithful tromp around the city carrying (or in this case, pushing on wheels) giant replicas of Jesus and company in various states of agony, trumpets and drums blaring, and topped by decidedly familiar-looking hoods.
Having ventured into the rest of Spain relatively infrequently in the past couple of years, I’d all but forgotten about the existence of free tapas. In León 5 euros will score you and your friends 5 tiny beers and 5 tapas, in this case, bread with cheese and a plate of spicy peppers. In San Sebastian, on the other hand, 5 euros will score justyou a beer and an artistic culinary creation with everything but fireworks.
A fly on a wall.
Ana’s dad has the cutest little dog ever, with frizzy little hairs by his ears. Nico:
Skeleton sculptures in a church. Just a reminder of what can happen if you don’t watch your step.
The gothic León cathedral at night:
And a ceiling:
My favorite piece at a contemporary art museum: “I HATE YOU ART”
Ana in the art museum:
Some mighty fine flying buttresses:
Medieval road around the old part of the city:
Cathedral by day:
A giant bird built a nest and lives on a column in this plaza:
Ginger Bar, but I saw no gingers:
This man was apparently an amazing music student and was encouraged by his friends and family to continue his studies at a conservatory, but instead he chose to play his accordian on the streets each day and has done so for years.
Lunch with the family. A cocida leonésa: stew with cabbage, garbanzos, some ribs, pig ears and trotters, and a veal knuckle or two; some little fried cakes made from breadcrumbs, eggs, garlic and spices; fried blood sausage; and some cheesecake to finish. They’re light eaters in León.
A helpful saint with no head and no left arm:
This hotel and museum was formerly a prison. Taxes well-spent, I’d say.
Ana and Aldo at the MUSAC art museum:
Screen prints by a Basque artist from Hernani:
Um, is that amustache on your lip?
Photographs by an Argentinian-Israeli photographer:
Some bitchin’ gothic spires:
They say if your hand fits into one of the casts, you’ll visit León again.
First one I tried!
Also, in reference to the title of this post, yes, León is famous for its cured meats, namely horse, cow, and goat, and for their abundant use of smoked paprika on everything! Take away the horses (for the love of god, please) and Leónese cuisine is alright by me.
Studying for exams, flipping through a notebook, I came across a few lines I’d jotted down a couple of months ago. I had the grand privilege of learning to clean a monkfish, and a big ol’ feller at that. Rather than explain the whole process, delightful as it was, here is what I’d brainstormed that afternoon while I was supposed to be listening to a lecture on classical sauces.
"big, fat, skin-&-bones loogey
baggy phlegm blob
an unctuous muscle-y clot that seems to have come from your sinuses, but IS A FISH— .
great nasal expulsion. falls through your fingers like you need a box’s worth of Kleenex
wiggles around on the cutting board like Jell-o but with some muscle and grit behind it
rows and rows of haggard snaggled teeth that face backwards to get prey and your fingers…they go all the way back to the stomach
use the eye sockets to heft and lift and flop it around the work table
fat feet-flippers on the underside—ooze jellyfish skin like okra-slime
fat spinal column filled with thick clear gel
baggy slippery. viscous
smooth half-dome flat eyes, cutting them out— one popped. giant black pupils behind water?
jawbones disconnect—gray rotten-fruit tongue and ”
Get the idea?
(This delightful photo is courtesy of my best friend, Wikipedia, as I dared not risk my camera’s life in an encounter with this beast.)