Saturday, July 19, 2014

To the mountains and beyond...

Yesterday, we set out on what would be our last excursion for the summer with a return to León and headed to the northern region of Asturias for a much needed break from classes and activities. Needless to say, the students were as anxious about their inevitable departure from Spain as they were excited to be (finally!) heading to the beach.

Our first stop for the day was to Oviedo, capital of the region, fellow IUHPFL site and probably most well-known for the more than 100 statues that are strategically placed throughout the city. Here are some of the more curious pieces we encountered on our tour.

Then, we made our way to the popular market El Fontán where many students took advantage of the time to purchase fresh fruit, take pictures, or like Kennedy, make friends. :)

After the market, we headed to the cathedral, known formally as the Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Saviour or Cathedral of San Salvador. The cathedral took over three centuries to complete and displays a wide variety of architectural styles and is unique to others we have seen with its one tower, although the original plan called for two it had to be changed due to financial constraints.

While students explored the cathedral or shopped in the nearby plaza, Sara Z. and I found a bakery with carbayones and purchased them for the students to try. A carbayón is a local favorite made with puff pastry, eggs, almonds and sugar.

Coincidentally, the word carbayón is a synonym for the word ovetense, which means "a person from Oviedo."

Once everyone finished eating lunch (and a little shopping), we headed to the hills of Naranco where we would see not 1 but 2 pre-romanic churches, both constructed in the later part of the 9th century. We visited San Miguel de Lillo first.

Then, we made our way down hill to the beautiful Santa María del Naranco. A fun but little known fact is that besides being the setting of the IUHPFL Oviedo group's official photo each year,  part of the Woody Allen movie "Vicky Christina Barcelona" was filmed here.

Here's just a glimpse of the incredible view the students had of Oviedo from atop the hill.

And then a few tried to get an even better view. :)

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