Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 4: Out On The Town

The morning/afternoon of my fourth day in Spain was spent around the city of Oviedo. But instead of just walking around the commercial and residential areas like we did on my second day here, we toured the more historic areas. It was like a different city entirely! The architecture was so beautiful that I just wanted to stay there forever. I love how there are churches and buildings here that are hundreds of years old and the rest of the city is merely built around them. In the United States I have been to a few big cities, but the only one that even remotely reminds me of Oviedo is Philadelphia. They both have a lot of history and neither are concrete jungles full of hustle and bustle like Chicago or New York City.

After walking around for a while and taking lots of pictures with random sculptures and buildings (all of which were incredible), we stopped (and by stopped I mean sat, ate, and talked for at least two hours.. that's just how they do things here!) at a little outdoor restaurant called Casa Ramon where we had lunch. I finally got to try la sidra, an apple cider (yes, alcoholic) that is very popular in Asturias. When the waiters pour it into the glasses they hold the bottle high above their head and the glass down low. This usually resulted in spilling sidra all over the ground, but it was quite fun to watch. I only tried a tiny bit, which is good since it was so strong. I usually only ever drink water or milk so it was very much a different taste. The meal we had at Casa Ramon was HUGE. If I've learned anything about food here it's that bread will always be served, but for me personally it's a good idea not to eat it all. Otherwise by the end of the meal, I will be just about to burst. (I learned this the hard way.) The many courses were as follows: an appetizer-like food that looked a lot like mini corn-dogs, but was filled with a potato-like substance, and bits of ham (it reminded me a lot of a perogie); a bread soaked with some sort of sauce topped with ham and duck fat (but looked like bread with peanut butter & jelly); pulpo con patatas (octopus - tentacles and all! and potatos); sardines and calamari (by now I could barely eat anymore); and finally dessert, a plate of a very sweet flan and another plate of a rice dessert (somehow, no matter how full I am, there is always room for dessert!).

After such a filling meal and morning of walking around in the rain (it was actually the afternoon.. it's hard to keep track of time here), I was happy to come home and take a two hour nap. My host family strongly suggested that I do so, since on the weekends the young people stay out all night (and strangely enough, the parents encourage it). But before I get into this part, I just want to remind everyone that this is not something I normally do. Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I make wise choices, am cautious, and like nothing more than to be in control. That being said, the legal drinking age here is eighteen, making it perfectly alright for me to try a little bit of a few typical Spanish drinks, such as Calimocho, a Coca-Cola/red wine mix. But no worries, I didn't even drink enough alcohol to have much of an effect on me at all. But that still didn't stop me from having a good time. Cova introduced me to three of her best friends (whom I got along with wonderfully) and the five of us spent most of the night dancing at a club called Tribeca. All was well until we decided to leave. They had told me that Gijon's transportation system is horrible, but I didn't truly believe it until we waited an hour for a bus that we couldn't even take, then walked all the way across town to take a train to another city where we had to sit on the train station floor waiting for my host father to pick us up. We ended up spending a total of three and a half hours in transit. I was so tired and thirsty by the time we made it home that I had convinced myself that going out wasn't even worth it. Hopefully I'll be feeling more up to it this weekend since we'll be going to Tapia de Casariego solely for their celebration of Saint Carmen!

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