There's a song by School of Fish called, "Three Strange Days" that keeps floating in my brain. In the last three days I've been to 3 different cities in Spain - Leon, Valladoild, and Avila. I must say these are the strangest days yet.
First of all this part of Spain is much different in goegraphy. I'm in the middle of what I would consider the desert. No more lush green mountains with bubbling rivers or sprawling beaches. It is dry, hot, and desolate. I'm reminded of many days driving through west Texas and I kept thinking I was going to see dead armadillos in the street....to get that reference you must drive through west Texas.
Leon was a pretty cool...the best wine I've had yet. Yet there's a certain depression that I felt there. Like people are just going through the motions of life. I was in Leon with a friend and we spent a very drunken night eating various tapas at many bars. What was VERY cool was that whenever you order a glass of wine they give you a tapas for free...on my budget this fits in quite nicely. I ran the next morning along the river...I was REALLY HUNGOVER so in order to not throw up I did like the people of Leon...I just went through the motions. Definitely not one of mybetter running experiences.
Valladolid...which I still cannot pronounce correctly, was next. If you've ever been to Los Angeles and visited The Grove at Farmers Market, then you've visited Valladolid. Very much like Leon in the layout of the city, but very pristine, very upscale. Got completely hosed at dinner and was over charged...having one day, I didn't have a chance to figure out where the locals dine...thus spending entirely too much money for a meal. I was glad to be leaving on the early train.
Avila is a walled city that was built in the 1400's or so. The train trip to Avila went through the middle of nowhere...just barren land with dead grasses. Suddenly this great wall appears on the horizon and you've arrived in Avila. My friend, who I was traveling with at the time, booked us at a very inexpensive hostel. Come to find out this hostel is a refuge on the Comino de Santiago. I never lived in a college dorm room...now I can say I've slept in a college dorm room. Literally, this was a dorm room. Can I just tell you the smell of mold was really, really BAD...so bad in fact that I went and bought a candle to light just to cover up the smell. Walking around Avila was a bit depressing. The people just seem sad. I guess I would be too if I lived in a walled city out in the middle of the desert.
My friend and I are a bit financially challenged at this time so we went to the grocery store and bought fixings for salad a couple bottles of cheap wine and had a picnic on the floor of our dorm room...we listened to music and I ran, danced, and sang down the empty hallways...was one of the best meals on my trip.
I have one more week left in Spain. I am spending it in Salamanca teaching English to adult businessmen and women. Right now I feel like my journey here hasn't even begun to be finished. I'm trying not to think about going home. Just keeping myself in the moment. I was told last night that if, "You think about tomorrow you always live in a dream, but if you live in the moment you live THE dream." That is a rough quote as I'd had a bit of wine, but that just about says it all....