I guess my choice of hotels reflects my love of history. I am always in awe of how beautiful these buildings are, from Gothic to Rennaissance. It’s not just the building of it, it’s the sculpture, the mouldings, the paintings, the tapestries. Everything that makes you go “wow”! And there’s a lot to say “wow” to in Leon. Like Burgos, the power of the Catholic machinery is clear – and it’s wealth. Whatever you may feel about the politics of faith, I’m glad they’ve preserved the works of unknown craftsmen so that we can appreciate them today.
Moving on from Hotel SPA Paris, I dropped in on the Pantheon and San Isidor. (For some reason, I keep thinking of Isildur from Lord of the Rings.) Three must-sees:
- Lovely vibrant frescoes on Romanesque vaults dating back to 1063. Amazing. That’s even before the Battle of Hastings.
- I’m amazed at a chalice dating back to 1st century AD. It is said that Jesus might have used it himself.
- Books dating from the 1st Romanesque church. Huge books, including the bible. No doubt illuminated but left unopened for preservation purposes. Some books are the size of small tables.
No photos of interior allowed.
In the gift shop, I found a great coffee table book of the Camino Frances with images of places I might have skipped or not noticed. This meant that a trip to the post office was required. Alas, postage cost more than book, but I think it’s worth it since I can’t get it back in England.
When walking to the Parador on the Gran de San Marco, an ice cream in hand is required.
A must- stay is the Parador, or any other place that’s steeped in history. And I don’t mean Benedictine Monasteries offering pilgrim beds. You want places that have done a great job in sympathetic restorations. (€5 donativos aren’t usually it.) I always feel it’s special to be part of history. Besides, you get to wander round the building at your own pace and leisure. For one day, this is totally your own space. You’re not a visitor. You’re a guest. And I tell you, the nuns and friars had it good. What a beautiful building this is.
Outside around the building