Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Asturias: Primer Viaje con el Grupo

On Day 4 of Spain we headed to Asturias in the north of Spain for the first trip all together as a group. We started the treacherous 6 hours bus ride at around 8AM and arrived in Oviedo, the capital of Asturia. While I was under the impression that Asturias was one city, it is actually a comunidad autónoma, similar to a state in the US. Maria José told a little bit of history as we gathered around the cathedral, and mentioned that the current Prince's wife was from this town. Then we split up for lunch and had our first experience of sidra. Que delicioso! Sidra es la bebida típica de Asturias, and we drank a lot of it over the 4 day trip. After a delicious and inexpensive lunch it was back on the bus to Gijón, where our hotel was. All 20 of us went out for tapas, más sidra, and a little night on the town, which ended on the beach basking in the freedom and excitment of living and traveling abroad.

The next morning (Friday, August 27th) we woke up early and headed to las playas de Ribadesella, one of the most gorgeous places I have ever seen. We strolled the beach and put our feet in the waves before being dragged away to Llanes for a conferencia and tour of the battle fields. It was a long and tiring rest of the day in Llanes before we were able to go back to Gijón and collapse into our beds.

Saturday was my favorite day of the trip. We started the morning by heading to Covadonga, en los picos de europa where we were surrounded by some of the most luscious and awe-inspiring scenery I have ever experienced. The Basilica at Covadonga was spectacular, set against the foggy mountains and greenery. We abandoned the now-detested large group bus for a few smaller ones to brave the steep height of the mountains to reach the glacier lakes on top. After passing muchas vacas we found our way to the lakes, which were eerily beautiful and an amazing sight to behold. After trekking down the slopes we made our way to a beautiful beach, a far cry from the chilly peaks of the mountains. That night we all went out to celebrate our last night in Asturias, and came across a courtyard full of bars and people, where we met boys from Gijón as well as the Netherlands. It was crazy and fun and a great way to end the trip.

Sunday, the last day, we awoke exhausted but fulfilled, ready for some kayaking on Río Sella, one of the cleanest rivers in the world. Along the way we stopped to have lunch and swim, as well as do some cliff jumping with others along the edge of the river. I was scared but it was exhilerating jumping from the 20 ft. rocks into the clean river below, and everyone was having the time of their lives (except maybe Amanda, who belly flopped and scared us all half to death). The strenuous activity felt good but was a strain on our weak bodies, and I slept most of the long ride back to Alcalá.

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