El Norte (Día #1): León and Oviedo…

O.K., I’m a little late on the uptake with this, but give me a break–I’ve been in the middle of Midterm Hell!!…But now, dearies, I’ve finally got time to brief you in on our 2nd official excursion (al Norte)…

First, we went to León, where the first stop was La Catedral y Basílica de San Isidoro (The Cathedral and Basillica of Saint Isidoro)…Constructed between the 11th and 12th centuries, this place is one of the most renowned sites of Romanic arquitecture in Spain…Seated on the former site of a Roman temple, this church was once dedicated to San Pelayo, but when the remains of San Isidoro (a bishop of Sevilla) were brought here, they rededicated the place in his honor…Also, its Panteón de los reyes de León (Pantheon of the Kings of Leon [no, not the awesome band])  is what is often called “The Sistine Chapel of Romanic Art”–the name pretty much speaks for itself…It’s here where kings and queens of León (the province we’re in, which was part of the independent reino of León before Spain’s unification in 1492) are laid to rest…Fun story: During the Napoleonic Invasion at the beginning of the 19th century, the French troops came here, emptied out all the tombs, and used them for drinking troughs for their horses–Yeah I know–MAJOR disrespect…I mean, we know who’s buried here, but now we don’t know who is buried where…

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...The outside...

…The outside…

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…Lovely fountain

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…A sculptural representation of Christ’s Descension, the Three Marys at the Tomb, and Christ’s Ascension…

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…The inside–A lot prettier than other Romanic churches I’ve visited…

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…O.K., technically we weren’t allowed to take pictures of the Panteón–But that’s what the Internet’s for!!!!…

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Next up was what was, for me, one of THE Top 3 sites of our excursion: La Catedral de León…Constructed between 1205-1301, this place is considered one of the finest Gothic cathedrals in all of Europe–and for good reason…My Lord, I don’t have the words to describe this place…

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…Gambas con ajillo y gulas (Shrimp, with garlic and baby eels [Yes, it actually was delicious])…

 After our free time, the next stop was Oviedo, a small city located in the autonomous community of Asturias…

Map-Of-Asturias

Now if you’ve ever seen the Woody Allen film, Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona (shout out to my people who are over there right now!!), Oviedo is the place where Juan Antonio (played by the illustrious Javier Barden) takes the two female protagonists…It was here that we visited two pre-Romanic churches–La Santa María del Naranco…

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…and El San Miguel de Lillo…

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While I personally found these churches no-so-astounding, the landscape of Oviedo–and the city itself (often voted the cleanest city in Europe)–are indeed beautiful…

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But enough of all this scenery porn–Time to talk about the hotel we stayed in–El Meliá Hotel de la Reconquista!!…It was 5-stars, and it was indeed lavish–with a jewelry store, clothing store, beauty salon, sauna (which, unfortunately, was closed at the time), game room, and like, 2 restaurants…Not to mention, the rooms themselves were fabulous–I’ll admit, I didn’t want to leave…

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And in the morning, I was treated to a top-of-the-line buffet (they even had tortillas españolas!!)…And it was here that I got…

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…My first taste of champagne–FREE!!…

I felt like a classy European noblewoman–except without all the official titles and chronic alcoholism…

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So, tell me: Have you ever been to either León and/or Oviedo, and if so, what did you like about them???…

And now, a video that encapsulates my mood right now, having gotten out of Midterm Hell, 🙂

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4 thoughts on “El Norte (Día #1): León and Oviedo…

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