Day 6 + 7 - Cangas de Onís

>> June 22, 2011

Cangas de Onís itself isn't a too well known of a city but the professors at the school told us that it was a great place to be to see everything around it. We decided to stay two days and have a little bit of an adventure.

The first day we drove a little into the Picos de Europa to the village of Covadonga
to see the church and the Holy Cave. Covadonga is known as the area where the first battle was won by the Christians against the Moors in 772 AD, thus beginning the Christians expelling of the Moors in Spain.

Basilica of Santa María la Real of Covadonga

It really started to rain!

This is the only picture we could get inside the cave. Their was a mass going on and felt weird taking photos. We sat in on the mass for about 8 minutes but after the 200th time that priest repeat a prayer to the madre de Dios we had heard enough.

Below the cave is a waterfall and this little spring coming out of the mountain. The myth is that if you drink the water from the spring you will be married very soon.


Such a sweet setting for a church.

You can see in some of the other photos the clouds that were in the sky. There are two beautiful lakes that are above Covadonga, and few miles higher up in the mountains. We really wanted to see them, and we were hoping maybe we could drive above the clouds, but unfortuntely after driving a half hour in Central Valley like fog we realized we probably could pass the lakes without even notices.

So we turned back and drove back into Cangas de Onís.
At the entrance to the city is the old Roman bridge.

View from the bridge.

We got back in time to head out on a kayaking trip down the river. A guy from the hotel gave us the wetsuits, showed us the kayak, and pointed to a place on the map that we were going to meet him in 4 hours.

The also gave us a little sack lunch to eat half way through. The water was flowing pretty well and we had a couple exciting moments. We felt pretty BA.

We celebrated a day of adventure with some typical Asturian food and, of course, more cider! Here is one of the little dispensers that helps break the cider up. You only pour in enough that you can drink in one gulp.

The next morning we decided to hike along the River Cares. It a famous route called La Garganta del Río Cares. The route is about 12 km (about 7.5). After deciding that we didn't want to do the whole route and after talking with the same guy at the hotel, we decided to take the 2 hour drive through the Picos de Europa and start at the end of the route (the village of Caín) and only go a few miles in. The main reason was that most of the really good sights are in these last few kilometers.

The drive through the Picos proved to be one of the most exciting paved roads I have ever been on. And yes..... It is two lanes. It was hard to believe that we were actually going to find civilization at the end of the road. Apparently many Spaniards fled to the hills when the Moors invaded and were able to stay there without any contact.

Finally there and ready to hike!

The beginning of the trail is just passed the dam.

Looking back at the dam.

Well hello there. This guy got a little territorial and followed us for a little bit.

This aqueduct ran to the side of most of the trail. It seemed like a big water park slide to me. But the water was freeeeeeezing.

We were loving the views but we were ready to head back after an hour and a half.

Looking for caves to climb into.

I had to settle for the tunnels.

This guy was a jumper.


These little guys came around the corner speeding towards us but quickly jumped up and started climbing up the side of the trail when they saw us. It was pretty amazing.

Baby ducks!

Back to the trail head

Here is a shot of our hotel just before we left. (the green one)

Next up....some other smaller cities and Santander!


Day 5 - Oviedo

>> June 9, 2011

On most trips that we take, I am already burnt out on traveling at 4 days. So when we first committed to 10 days we knew it was going to be rough. We figured that by the night of day 5, we would definitely need a nice place to stay and relax. So we found a deal on and put ourselves up in this place.

After getting unloaded and parking the car in a tiny underground garage, it was time to explore the beautiful city.

The unique buildings didn't feel very Spanish to us

Jumping in the park

The university

Hanging out in the old plaza


We liked the clock on the cathedral tower (which you can barely see in this picture)

sleeping kitty


cider barrel

Oviedo is the capital of the principality of Asturias, and Asturias is the largest producer of cider in Spain. So clearly we had to make our way over to Calle Gascona aka El Bulevar de la Sidra (the boulevard of cider).

This little gem was recommended to us by a friend as a good place to eat.

We ordered the Tortos con Picadillo y jamon, which is puffed up little corn tortillas with chorizo or cured ham on top. Delicious!

I enjoyed myself a cheap bottle of cider, which actually isn't supposed to be drank in it's normal state. Normally it is poured from great heights to shake it up or they have special electric dispensers to get the flavor moving.

The next day on our way out of the city we headed up the mountain for a little hike.

We saw a bunch of these as we were walking and driving through Asturias. They are called hórreos and were used to store grain. It seems like people keep them around today just for aesthetics. To me they look like mini houses on stilts.

The first destination on our hike was a Roman Catholic church, San Miguel de Lillo. Unfortunately it was in the process of being re-roofed. Can you imagine re-roofing a building built in 848.

The next stop, also built in 848 was the church Santa María del Naranco. It is a great example of pre-Romanesque architecture. We weren't able to go inside but Sarah made it up the stairs for a quick picture.

You can see the inside in Woody Allen's movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which was filmed in many areas of Oviedo. Javier Bardem was totally here.

Next up is Cangas de Onis!


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