Going North of Madrid I loved Leon a middle sized city, a very nice little
hotel restaurant is la Posada Regia, this is a quaint small restaurant
+ hotel. It is in our hotel data base. The rooms are all different and
very nice, and the food...well the food is excellent, the owners are
two chefs, she is young and very nice and cooks, he is the PR
older that she, with a belly, very charming, I imagine he also cooks
Anyway it is a bargain, used to be 85 with breakfast in 98 during our
last stay in Leon. We actually stayed at the Parador which is very excellent
but had dinner and lunch in there and he showed us the rooms.
I love to visit cities that are not that big, Leon has the right size
with some beautiful things to visit, : a great gothic cathedral with the
most outstanding vitreaux and the most amazing frescos from the Middle
Ages are in San Isidro Real
Spaniards have dinner late, but often they cannot afford paying for
a late dinner as often as they wished so they go out for tapas, I guess
that tapas are like small dishes instead of a big dish full of food. Everything
is available in this small versions, which in turn come in three sizes,
I guess they are called, tapa, porcion, and media porcion ...
sometimes in the same restaurant they have different places for eating
one for a full dinner and others for having drinks and tapas which can
amount to dinner depending of what you eat and how much .. the tapa tables
do not have a tablecloth .....in Leon we joined a group of locals and
went with them for tapas here and there which was like a dinner, some
tapas are very inexpensive like the tortilla (thick potatoe omelet), some
can be cold like ensalada de cangrejo (crab salad).. a real expensive
is the jamon serrano which comes with different names and qualities .
You will find that in a small city like Leon they still are delighted
to meet someone from Miami like us or from California like you...all the
action in Leon is in the Barrio Humedo, where the Posada REgia is located,
each bar there has a distinct tapa that is given free with drinks.In this
case is better to have the drinks standing at the bar.
What I mean of the tapa is that this way you can have dinner anytime and
you do not have to wait till their dinner time after 9:30. Also in the
Paradores they star serving dinner aprox. 8.30,which is early.
You can follow from Leon the road to Santiago de Compostela, kind of a
must if you go N. Or you can go towards the mountains called Picos de
Europa which are beautiful. They rise to some 2500 meters high or more.
They are as beautiful as the famous Dolomites in Italy.
Before Leon you should visit Burgos, - a more touristic place - but worth
Again the cathedral is beautiful , I loved the Monasterio de las Huelgas
reales, most of the coffins where desecrated by Napoleon ( he was pretty
busy all over Europe ...) .....anyway the have some amazing textiles from the
Middle Ages very well kept because of prevailing weather conditions in
that region. I was really fascinating with the textiles and pieces of the knights' wardrobe.
Note: In Spain although it is generally safe you should be particularly
alert in the bigger cities or in the very tourist places like Burgos.
On trick they play : they cut a little one of the tires of you car, then
they come to help when you have a flat tire, then they they rob you ,
that for sure...they usually cut the right back tire if you have a 5 door
car. Be alert...
A good book for planning itineraries is Karen Browns Charming Inns and
The are several sites regarding Santiago and the roads to Santiago. In
Galicia and Asturias there are many charming little towns, fishing towns,
etc. we visited here and there and spent a couple of days in the Parador
of Bayona, ask for a room facing the ocean, Paradores are as you know
are excellent, they are good buys and depending on the season offer all
kind of special deals, remember the paradores offer specials in many places
from Monday to Thursday, also you can buy a book of coupons to spend in
the Paradores this way you get a better deal.
Well it is late here in the East Coast, so I am going to bed. Buena suerte.
Graziella Miami Beach.