Sunday, June 24, 2012

León - Una visita

On Friday, the city center became our classroom for a special visit to some of the most well-known and historical sites in León: the cathedral and the Real Colegiata de San Isidoro.   Although we did not have to travel far for this excursion, students were challenged to learn all that they could about their host city and to then test their knowledge of "all things Leonese" by successfully completing their gincana, or scavenger hunt. Winners were of course awarded with prizes representing the city, and a certificate for our favorite ice cream shop, Holy Cow (or as we say around here, La vaca sagrada).

Our first stop was the cathedral, which dates back to the 13th century. Here the students were able to tour the main floor nave, choir area, altar and some of the cathedral´s 120+ stained glass windows.

 Then, we braved the narrow stairwell (shown below) to go up to the scaffolding and take a closer look at the on-going restauration process of the stained class. Students were amazed to learn not only how long they have already been working but also that there is still no definite "end date" in sight.

After watching a brief video detailing the restauration process (and being able to see before/after pieces), students came back down to the Plaza de Regla to have a snack (el almuerzo) and start the gincana.

 Armed with maps, dictionaries and a list of sites to find and questions to answer, the students set off with a 45 minute time limit. The three girls below were proud to have finished first (and then could celebrate their victory with ice cream).
After the gincana, we went on to the Real Colegiata - a church that was first dedicated in 1063. Here, students were given a true lesson in Leonese history as 23 former kings are buried on site and they were able to see ancient manuscripts and a few treasures of the church. Students impressed teachers and the guide alike with their questions and sincere interest as they traveled back in time.

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