If you walk around Oviedo, even for one day, you will notice how there is an abnormally large amount of statues scattered around this city. I don’t think you could even walk 5 minutes without bumping into one. The historical basis behind this is funny: back in the day one of the mayors simply really liked statues so he put forth city money towards creating statues all over Oviedo and that is why to this day there are so many everywhere. A fun element to the city.
A statue of a traditional Asturian milk maid (lechera) and a mule (mula).
Every Thursday and Saturday there is a large indoor market in old town where you can buy a variety of food from fresh fruits and veggies to baked goods to fish, meat, and cheese. It is cool to experience because a lot of locals plan on coming here each week to shop for fresh produce. It smelled a little fishy in there, but was cool to see all of the food displayed out and interactions between vendors and customers. This was my moms first day visiting Oviedo as well so it was a good way for her to see a weekly local custom.
You will see sausages and pig legs handing from the ceiling at most meat shops. Traditionally the Spanish started to hang pig legs up in the doorways to ward off the Moors who did not eat pork, but to this day they continue to do it. Cool to learn the historical basis behind it and to see that it has become part of the culture to this day!
Today was the last day of Spanish classes at the Casa de las Lenguas on the Milan campus of University of Oviedo. I ended up passing my final exams with flying colors which I am happy about. Crazy reflecting back on my sub par Spanish when I arrrived in Spain 2 months ago. I could barely understand my Spanish host mother and would speak in broken sentences when trying to communicate with locals. I truly believe that this immersion experience is the best way to learn a language. I fostered friendships and was able to experience things that would have been completely different without knowing the Spanish language. It is amazing how much overcoming a language barrier can change how you experience and know a different culture. After 2 months I feel as though Oviedo is my second home and I have lived here rather than simply visited. Excited for my final week in Oviedo as I can continue to explore and experience and put my new Spanish skills to good use.
One great feature about studying abroad in Oviedo is the close proximity to Picos de Europa – a large national park in the north of Spain. By bus it only took us an hour to get to the Lagos de Covadonga, a cool spot in the national park. Up in the mountains are some gorgeous lakes surrounded by tall mountains of grass speckled with rocks and cows roaming around wherever they please. Such a beautiful place to go hiking for a day trip. When we went it was very foggy – was interesting how different the scenery was depending on when the fog would roll in then clear out. Overall a very stunning and special place.
There was tons of cows grazing in the mountains. They were all very peaceful – only warning would be to watch your step for the cow pies. Thought this baby was so cute. He may look large but was tiny compared to some of the full grown adults!
A shot of the second lake we visited. After hiking up a mountain side we were completely surrounded by fog and couldn’t tell the lake was just below. When the fog cleared we were greeted by this gem.
There were these pretty bushes with yellow flowers speckling the mountainsides adding pops of color to the gloomy day.
Taking a rest and enjoying the view.
My friend Hannah and I – happy to be out exploring the Spanish mountains. Her favorite part was the baby vacas (cows). They are very important to this region as cows provide the milk for the many Asturian cheeses.
Here is a view from the second floor of one of my favorite cafés, Prida, with a little view of the Saturday market where you can buy clothes and other goods. Fun to walk around the market and definitely helpful to know how Spanish to speak with vendors and, if you’re in the mood, to bargain a little. There is a lot of fun stuff and for the most part everything at the market is very inexpensive. Grab a café con leche then cruise the calles.
Coming from Portland, Oregon where there are virtually no roundabouts, I was surprised to see so many in Europe. I love how in Oviedo every roundabout has a gorgeous fountain in the middle. Although I’m not tackling stick shift and cruising on the calles, I have loved admiring these center pieces from the sidewalks.
Proof that we do study in addition to all of the fun and adventuring. We also just use it as an excuse to hang out in cute cafés and stuff ourselves full of the Spanish pastries.
A cute little notebook Uni de Ovi gave us, which I use for my Spanish grammar book. So many verb tenses to keep track of – might need to go get another coffee!!
Spent a very fun weekend in San Sebastián – a popular beach town in the Basque region. Spent a lot of time at the gorgeous beach, walking through old town, and eating pinxtos. We also visited the aquarium, which was really cool. Here are some of my fav shots!
Some of the boats by the port. Loved all of the fun colors.
The water here was unbelievably clear and blue. We swam out to the island (pictured behind). Apparently it is a thing people do, but it ended up being a lot farther than it looked. We went to the island bar and had some delicious seafood palella (a traditional rice dish). If you aren’t a strong swimmer, there is also an option to rent kayaks or take a ride on the ferry.
What a pinxto bar looks like. It’s kind of like a bunch of appetizers and you get a plate and try a few then go to the next bar and try a few there. A lot of seafood, some more exotic than others. I loved the ones with local cheeses. Such a fun experience unique to the region.