Sunday, 29 March 2009

Countdown to claudius

I've just come back from a trip that allowed me to combine research into Roman goldmining techniques with a visit to my daughter, who's at university in northern Spain. Our base for the week was the lovely city of Leon about 250 miles north of Madrid. It was founded by the Seventh legion in the first century AD and you can still see the walls they built around their fortress and the original street pattern in the grid of alleys and streets near the wonderful cathedral, which is a stopping place on the Camino, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The Seventh, along with the Sixth legion, were only there because of the gold which was mined among the hills around nearby Astorga, which was the administrative capital for the area.
The weather was fantastic, sunshine and glorious blue skies, clean, clear air that allowed you to see the snow-capped mountains to the north.
We stayed in the Hotel Plaza Mayor and I'd recommend it to anyone. The rooms are individually designed and the one we had looked out onto the plaza, the staff were friendly and always willing to help. It was also just a few hundred yards from Nikki's flat and what a relief it was to have an interpreter on hand in a country where you don't speak a word of the language beyond 'dos vasos rioja, por favor'. Leon's a great place; the buzz from the tapas bars on a Saturday night would power the whole place for a week and we had a fantastic time before heading south again for a couple of nights in Madrid.
On the book front, I'm now working on the typeset book proof of Claudius, which is basically the last step before publication. So two or three more reads and then it's gone for good and fingers crossed again. I'm at page 102 and loving it, which must be a good sign!

1 comment:

Lizziee said...

Does Nikki know as much about the history as you do . . .