10th – 12th October 2014: In Leon (Spain) with Family

The year my father retired we went to have a nice weekend out, and we chose to drive to León, a historical city towards the north of Spain. I had to work on Friday afternoon, so we drove off in the early evening and reached Leon after dusk. We were staying at the Parador, called Hostal de San Marcos for a couple of nights. The building was luxurious, it was one of those one-in-a-lifetime experienced. The hotel is a former convent built in the 16th century, and it distils magic.

On Saturday morning we set off to visit the Basílica de San Isidoro de León, a Christian church dating from the 10th century. It is famous due to the 12th-century paintings that decorate the Pantheon of the Kings of León underneath the church.

After this, we walked into the town centre and we came across the Casa Botines, a Modernist-style building erected by Gaudí, now a bank.

A bit further we saw the came across the local seminary, the Seminario de San Froilán.

We went on and found the local farmer’s market, the Mercado Tradicional de Productos Agrarios, which was in the Main Square of the city.

Finally, we circled back towards the cathedral, Santa María de León, a Gothic building built in three steps – the main building was built all throughout the 13th century, the north tower in the 14th century, and the south tower in the 15th century. The difference in the towers is easy to spot (≧▽≦). One of its key features are the stained-glass windows.

Upon leaving the cathedral, one of my favourites, by the way, we took an extra walk in the historical area, and found cool buildings and decorations.

We had lunch, then returned to the Hostal de San Marcos. On our way back we found the cutest sweet shop that made adorable chocolate figurines.

We saw the Iglesia de San Marcos, the adjacent church, and then I explored the whole hotel a little.

Also, I discovered that I could see the Puente de San Marcos, a stone bridge over the Bernesga River, from my room.

We drove off on Sunday morning, because the weather was nasty and the forecast was worse, so we wanted to be out of the area when the storm really hit. But before that I managed to get to the second floor of the cloister and explore some more.