Tuesday, October 12, 2010

September 28 – Struck Out in Leon

From Bayona, we headed along the wine route of the Ribeiro Valley, before heading up to Leon, Spain's old capital from the Middle Ages. On the way, we stopped in "the capital of the Ribeiro", Ridadavia, to discover that whilst it's relatively pretty, it's completely dead – it's the kind of town that makes Tracy go into a cold sweat at the thought of even living there.

From there we ventured on to Leon to discover that the campsite on the edge of town had been turned into a housing estate quite a few years ago. So instead we headed for an "area de autocaravanas" in a car park in the centre of town. This area was basically 4 spaces on the edge of a busy car park – not a place to have a restful night's sleep (given our trepidation because of our experience in Tuy); however, there was no alternative.

So, we headed into town for a drink and some food – they give you a free tapa here with every drink, which endeared the place to us. We started to read the local papers on the bar, and it appeared that Spain was going to have a General Strike the next day, and that everything would be shut – this could explain the tetchiness that we've picked up on, and why everyone at the supermarket that evening was stocking up like there was going to be a nuclear war. We asked the barman what the deal would be, and he said there would be a big demonstration in town, and that 3,000 angry miners were coming to town to protest – apparently no-one's been paid for two months.

We told him where we were parked up, and he said that there was where all the miners were gathering and that it would be "muy peligroso" – very dangerous. At this, we didn't need any more persuading that it was not a good idea to be staying in a city centre car park. We had visions of our van being picked up while we were sleeping by thousands of dirty faced miners with pick axes, and being hurled at the lines of riot police.

So, at 11pm, a decision was made to drive to Gijon, two hours away over the mountains, for a safe refuge away from angry miners. Leon will have to wait for another trip.