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Discovering the North of Spain: Asturias

I didn’t plan to go to Asturias as I knew nobody there, but that didn’t stop me. My other friend was in Cantabria which is around 10 hours by bus away from Ferrol. When I was younger I had no problem with travelling for many hours by train, but now I am not as resistant. Besides, a bus is a lot worse than a train: you can’t walk, you don’t have too much space. So, I decided to make a stop on my way to Santander.

In Asturias, I have been to Oviedo and used Couchsurfing for the second time in my life. My host was a lovely woman whose hobby was painting so her house was full of portraits. Even though she was no longer in her twenties, she didn’t suffer from lack of energy or curiosity. She wanted to travel as much as she could. I was lucky to have her as my host because we went on an amazing trip to the mountains.

I can still hear her:” I want to see those lakes, let’s go”. She was talking about ‘Saliencia’ lakes, a group of 5 glacial lakes which are located in the ‘Somiedo’ Natural Park (the first natural park of Asturias). The photos were amazing so of course, I accepted her proposal.

In her house, for the first time, I ate a Japanese soup; she followed a vegetarian diet so her shelves were full of healthy organic products. Therefore, she introduced me to Hatcho Miso, some Japanese soybean paste. The taste was good, a bit unusual for me because I never ate anything like that, but I would give it a try again. I like healthy food and whenever I discover another meal I get very enthusiastic. So, that was our dinner, a miso soup.

Our miso soup

The next day we headed to where we planned, to Saliencia to see the lakes. It was very funny, that we didn’t want to use google maps, so she was stopping at gas stations to ask for directions. One guy from there told her that we should return because in Somiedo the roads were ice-covered and her car wasn’t equipped with snow chains. Even so, we didn’t give up and continued our way until something would block our way.

The road was super narrow, but luckily there weren’t any cars. I was so surprised to see how many isolated villages existed there as we were advancing into the mountain area. The landscapes were beyond imagination, I loved every single second of that ride.

At some point, we couldn’t continue anymore because of a tiny, but an important ice-covered zone. Well, apparently, that guy was a bit right, but not completely because we drove a lot before reaching that dead end. Even though we couldn’t use the car anymore, we put plan B into action: our strong and beautiful legs. So, we walked, a lot, but couldn’t find the lakes and because of the lack of signal on our phones we couldn’t check where they were. She was a bit sad but still promised herself that she would return to find the lakes come summer.

It was almost lunchtime, so we were heading to the closest village where we could eat some tapas (snacks in Spanish cuisine), even though I was a bit skeptical of finding anything in that isolated area. On our way to Saliencia (the village), we saw ‘Las Brañas Somedanas’, some stone huts and of course that we stopped there for a photo shooting.

Finding an open bar wasn’t that hard because there were only two and one was closed (haha). We ate tortilla with chorizo and it was incredibly good, even though I am not a big fan of chorizo, but in that combination I really liked it.

Asturias is famous for its cider so that was my chance to try an authentic and natural cider made by the owner of the bar. It was extraordinary good, reminding me of my dad’s wine. Great experience. An interesting thing that I noticed at the entrance of the bar, was a pair of wooden shoes and I was super curious about it. Actually, there were even more pairs in different corners and I found out that all the villagers had those. They were using them when it was muddy or on a daily basis in order to not get dirty.

After those wonderful hours, we headed to the city center, because I had to see the famous cathedral from Oviedo and luckily, one rainbow appeared, so now I have a gorgeous photo with that magical place. Though I loved being there, I had to go catch my bus to Santander where a new adventure was waiting for me.

#EUvolleyballScience #EUsolidarityCorps #Viorela

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