This is Leon Cathedral. It is even more beautiful inside than out. It is a true Gothic building, built in just 50 years in the 13th century. Because it was built in such a short time, it has great unity of style. Until this example in Leon, the one in Burgos and the French ones they copied, churches had been built in Roman styles – they were much bigger and heavier and dark inside. This one is incredibly light. The ribs going up to the vaults are very thin and delicate, allowing massive amounts of space for stained glass. The light that comes into the church, even on a very rainy day like yesterday, floods it with colour. The church is very fragile, nearly falling down several times. There are many fascinating aspects to this church. The one that struck me was the renaissance screen protecting the choir. It was constructed several hundreds of years later and has the normal aspects of the period – bodies with muscles, human-centred groupings, etc. It is very fine (and was changed after the Council of Trent to take out the pagan Gods!) but no better than the original church. The idea that beauty and art started again or was re-found from classical times with the renaissance does not stand the test of this temple.
Walking in the rain for two days – no fun. Feet OK – now issues with the tendons. Seeing another doctor tomorrow! Two comments along the way. I was bunked alongside a young lad from Guilford yesterday. He asked me how to wash clothes in the sink! I stared at him somewhat perplexed. He explained that his mother did all the washing at home – she liked to do it, apparently. He had tried washing the previous night – put washing, water and powder into the sink but they had come out as dirty as they went in. I describe the washing process, mushing stuff around, etc – he was quite happy and went off to try. The other – an American told me that it was easier to understand Australians than English people. I explained that was because they did not have much to talk about – after kangaroos and rugby, that was about it. The many Australians within earshot were very pleased, as you can imagine.
Three weeks of walking completed today. The landmarks are falling fast. Leon, the last big city, yesterday. Tomorrow, I will complete 22 days which is two thirds the way through. Soon down to single figures of days. And the donations keep going up! On the other hand, now heading into the cold, the winds, the rain and the mountains. Still.