And to make matters worse, the last few novels I've written for here all ended up being eaten by my lovely new laptop that has a pretty temperamental existence. Anyway. Let me sum it up for you:
Seeing Places Not Even The Locals Have Seen:
I was graced with the offhanded chance of seeing the city from the eyes of a local: one of the other student's host mom. She inadvertently kidnapped us by ending up taking an entire unwitting small group of us first on some errands with her, and then to go in search of a pizzeria. In the process, we students were hopelessly lost because the long-time local knew her way around the streets that are -never- straight, and took me through absolutely Adjustment-Bureau-esque changes of scenery to different places I'd been to before, but never quite understood the method through which I'd gone. We found said pizzeria to be closed and instead walked around the area, getting small history pieces as we went along, as well as tips on where to go. We stopped in at a sidrería that let us in even though they were still technically on siesta and we had a bottle of sidra between all of us, and became acquainted with the proper way of drinking it. Get an 1/8th, drink a 1/16th, then -pour the rest of it out on the ground.- But more specifically, pour it out over the part of the glass you drank over, and throw it toward the bar so it drains out in the stone gutter that's implemented into the floor. Pretty cool, huh? After having just enough for the each of us to warm our bones and brave the colding night, we went back out again and ended up by the back of the Cathedral. We were talking and walking past the monestary where the nuns stay cloistered away at, listening to how they never come out and no one ever goes in except on certain nights when they open the doors of the cloistered part of the church, and the nuns sing...
Well, wouldn't you know? We walked a little ways further, and up the long staircase toward the church, the door was there but opened. It wasn't well lit, so if you didn't look, you wouldn't have even known. The woman we were with, Carmen, gasped and went as we walked up, "My daughter was born in this city, and she's never seen this before..." and we were hurriedly rushed inside. The sound of the monjas' voices was beautiful and clear, and even though we couldn't see them, the small room we were in was still breathtaking, too. We sat for a minute and listened to the psalm they were singing before the five of us quietly excused ourselves and kept walking. Another door down was a different part of the cathedral where they display religious... displays, I guess, set up seasonal dedications, and also hold some services. The air in there was super musty as there wasn't a window in the house, and was once again really moving and quiet-making. I was amazed by how after we left that Carmen was able to quickly jump back into things. I really liked her. She was witty, friendly, had a quick tongue, and knew how to properly utilize a wink: all the trademarks of a wonderful guide. :]
She took us down that same long road that the back of the cathedral was on, which was a surprising source of the arts. The psychology buildings for the University of Oviedo, the Museum of Archaeology, la Cocina Económica (where you can get food twice a day for .50, or for free if you're willing to do some dishes), and the Philharmonic Center (and school, I believe!). Further beyond there was this -pretty- old bar with stained glass windows, and a theology school for those wanting to become priests, complete with religious library. And we didn't even make it down to the end of the way! When I told Carmen she knew of all the best places, she just winked at me and went, "The best is yet to come." Unfortunately, we haven't been able to hang like that again, and probably won't. It was just one of those spontaneous and amazing trips.
A Less Spontaenous, but Equally Amazing Adventure:
Nuestro viaje a Covadonga, Cangas de Onís, and Ribadesella (DA BEACH :D)
History lesson: Covadonga is where the Reconquista of Spain began. When the moors came to invade, it's said an army of about 1000 was held off by about 50 Covadonga residents because the moors were unused to fighting in mountain territory. Throwing rocks and who knows what else, a guy named Pelayo and everyone else eventually fought them off and the moors got tired of it and went home. Through this victory, the Reconquista began! Crazy, isn't it?
Covadonga is also home to a special fountain with seven spouts. It's said if you drink from all seven of them within the same breath, you will be married within the next year. NOW, I don't know about that... >_> But I -did- drink from one. Just for luck. :] Probably not as well known as the chapel, the church, the waterfountains, or the waterfalls... but the sleeping lions guarding the road up to the town, (aptly dubbed by myself and my new Japanese friends Los Leones Durmiendos de Covadonga. Oh, yeah. We're originaly, all right.) called to me, so I have to show you them.
Then we went to Cangas de Onís, where we didn't have as much time as we should have, and that is a sad thing. Aside from the AWESOME bridge/river it had...
... and the church with many bells that we didn't have the time to see, and the fact that Pelayo was buried there, it had an absolutely delicious little hotel-café that I found and enjoyed café y pinchos at. 2 euros for the largest spanish tortilla you've ever seen, some bread, lovely coffee with a heart-shape in the foam, and some random tapas they kept passing around?... Yes, I think that is worth it. :D
I would tell you about Ribadesella, too, but it makes my heart ache just thinking about that beautiful beach town. I want to live there. It was extremely quiet and kind of rainy, (and on top of that, the middle of winter...) so nobody was really around, but I loved the sights and the smell it had. We walked up this HUUUGE hill that overlooked the sea. It was cool. We decided to do a little re-enacting.
... You know. No big deal.