Seeing León, Spain Through New Eyes

It´s no secret that I´m sweet on León, Spain. The city was my first Spanish home and continues to hold an allure for me. Finally, this past weekend I was able to share my home-away-from-home with Andres. As we walked along the streets I pointed out landmarks–Guadí designed that!–as well as stories that could not come from any guidebook.

León, Spain

León’s Cathedral

There was Librería Pastor, where an extra novel was slipped into my bag when the owner discovered I was learning Spanish. There was Calle de la Rúa, a narrow, cobblestone-lined street that I used to take daily on my path to the language school. Then and now, the window displays of the specialty stores–with their passion for local products, hats, baked goods, and wedding dresses–are refashioned weekly. There was the main street, Calle Ancha, that bustling thoroughfare where locals strolled in their toniest outfits. There! I´d point out, signaling to a store or building or plaza. That was where X happened.

We met up with my friend Bea for tapas in the Barrio Húmedo, where the city’s bars are concentrated. The atmosphere was even more electrified than I´d remembered it–this was due, of course, to the fact that Spain was playing in the World Cup that night. The Plaza Mayor was the busiest I´d ever seen it, TVs were set up around Plaza San Martín, and the only bars with elbow room were the ones sans football.

As we snaked along through the historic heart of the city on a buzzing Friday night, Andres snapped the following shots. Dusk was falling, the shouts of football fans rang out, and I was in a town where I needed neither map nor compass. I was the guide, yet I was the guest, a combination that seems strange in writing but in actuality felt just like it should.

León, Spain

León’s Plaza Mayor

León, Spain

In the cathedral square

León, Spain

León at dusk

León, Spain

León’s Barrio Húmedo is so cool it even has its own website and Wikipedia article!

León, Spain

World Cup madness (people kept their necks to watch the game)

León, Spain

Tapeando with friends

León, Spain

Plaza San Martín, the heart of the Húmedo

Reviewing Andres’ photos of the city, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic. It was great to see the city through new eyes, as well as reminisce about my time there as a student. Somehow, even within two cameras between us, Andres and I didn’t manage to get a photo of us together. I guess we’ll just have to go back to León again to make that happen!

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10 Comments

  1. Michael Gambill

    Yes, it still looks enchanting. How nice it has not lost any of its luster for you. I think that rarely happens. A lovely place, indeed.

    • Cassandra

      Thanks! We did indeed enjoy our time. Hopefully we will have the chance to go back again for a longer time.

  2. It’s always great to see an old friend through new eyes. I love showing people around Zamora!

    I was in Leon last year, and I really loved it. The cathedral is one of my favorites in Europe!

    • Cassandra

      Kaley, I’m glad you can relate. I’m also glad to hear that you enjoyed the city!

  3. I always wonder what it’ll be like to return to these places we’ve lived with an inside AND an outside perspective. this sounds like so much fun…especially you getting to watch Andres in aw of your old home!

    • Cassandra

      I hope you guys will have the chance to do that, too!

      The funny thing about showing Andres the town was that, since he hasn’t been with me to Arkansas yet, this was the closest he’s come to seeing my “hometown.” It was a terrific experience to share that with him.

  4. Any Spanish town with a quality selection of free tapas ranks high on my list, and León was no exception. Thanks so much again for all your restaurant recommendations—they were great when I visited in March!

  5. Taylor Dugan

    Cassie! Love your blog and I especially loved this post. :) Miss you!

    • Cassandra

      Aw, thanks so much Taylor! I hope you can revisit Spain one of these days, too. Thanks for reading along!!

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