Parador San Marcos*
We sleep in until 9:30 AM… delicious… then hit the Parador’s giant breakfast buffet, inescapable as, like it or not, it is included in our tariff. I have eggs, bacon, potato tortilla, roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes, toast, café. Nick choices are heavy on the goodie side, accompanied by orange juice always freshly-squeezed in Spain. We leave at 11:00 for our city tour. First, the Museum of Alexander, which also had an early Christian exhibit, which includes much about the Queen of Sheba (with Nick a font of wisdom on the lady). There’s an epic manger scene… Jesus, Joseph and Mary, the three Kings, flights of angels, dozens of shepherds, sheep, goats, cats, dogs, etc. With a cast of maybe two-hundred, it fills a huge room. Next, we explore the cathedral. High Gothic, it’s a “cage” of stained glass. A Mass is underway and we enjoy the organ music. Next, to an ice cream stand for Nick, and then we run into Hermann and Peter and join them for drinks. Peter relates his “ear ordeal” with “camino angels” – helpful strangers, nurses and doctors – saving the day. We won’t see them again. They are taking the bus to the next town having walked out of Leon on three prior occasions, and not wishing to repeat this. We are sad… they are very special. So on we go, stopping at a bar for wine and a chicken and pepper sandwich, quite good. Back to our Parador and up to our room for a nap. Up at 6:00 to explore our the premises. We visit the floor with the very special suites, all very grand. Peeking down from above, we discover a lovely garden terrace for cocktails and goodies. We descend there, and order gin & tonics and bad sandwiches. We enjoy the outdoor setting and people-watching.