There seemed to be many churches, monasteries, and hermitages in the area around Potes and we had time to visit three.
Santa Maria Real de Piasca was a Monastery founded in the 8C-9C and by the 11C was apparently equal in importance to Santa Toribio, with many possessions. Today all that remains is the church, halfway up a mountainside, and absolutely gorgeous, and the foundations of its cloister. The remarkable fact about this ‘monastery’ was that it was mixed – it included both monks and nuns – but eventually the monks took over – nothing new here! The current church dates from the 12C.
The main doorway is extraordinarily ornate and I could have spent a long time looking at the carvings.
The side door, slightly hidden away, is also ornate, with carvings of fantastical birds, strange figures, and a boar hunt.
There are more carvings on the frieze at the top of the walls, underneath the roof, and around the windows
The flowers at the entrance to the buildings were just lovely – dahlias, hostas, geraniums, lavatera, impatiens, and large bunches of grapes.
This is a magical spot – well worth visiting. On both occasions we went there we were alone…