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(I’m still playing catch-up with the blog, so this post is about last night.)

We arrived at Léon in the late afternoon with a little time to wander before dinner. The bus dropped us off directly in front of the Santa Maria de Léon Cathedral, so naturally we started there. It’s quite an eye-opener:


The pavilion in front of the cathedral was swarming with people.

At the little table vendor above I found a few trinkets I thought my kids would like and approached the proprietress to discuss prices, but she sat down, shook her head, and sent her ten-year-old daughter to dispatch the negotiations instead. That is a mean tactic, but certainly an effective one.

We wandered around the streets nearby and took many pictures, not all of which I have time to upload to this blog.  Léon is a beautiful city, but like many cities, visitors are immediately struck by the close juxtaposition of luxury and destitution. We stumbled upon this, which seemed to be the abode of some government official:

…and right next door, an unmaintained vacant lot:

There was, as Richard put it, a church on every corner, and many of them were beauties:

A few more scenes from the city:

Jay Hockenberry poses in the shadow of a lion

The first hotel we mistakenly came to before we found El Convento.

The "lots of iron bars" theme was present here as well. We passed one store-front that was locked up with heavy-duty chain and no less than four huge padlocks.

Waneta Ramlall in the pavilion in front of the cathedral

Finally we headed to the Hotel El Convento for our meal. The hotel itself was gorgeous and extravagant. Service at dinner was slow and mediocre but the food was amazing. The bar even had a TV showing the Superbowl, to the delight of many of our company.

Richard Allen and Bruce Meighan at El Convento

Jeff Lovold and Paul Eastlund at dinner

Amy Brelia, Carole Cauley, and our translator Alicia

Our podiatric surgeons, Dr. Jeff Siegel and Dr. Charles Morelli.

After dinner we got back to El Ayudante late and passed out early in anticipation of a busy day ahead.

-Paul Eastlund

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