On June 15, 16 and17 the CIEE group visited a distinct northern region of Spain, Asturias, a place many Spaniards call “La España Verde” (Green Spain) because of it´s extensive green plant life. The group travelled in a private bus to reach our first stop: The city of Oviedo. Travelling in a private coach allowed for more comfort as students could sleep, listen to music and eat picnic lunches their host families had prepared. It also had a very convenient washroom.
We arrived at the capital of Asturias, Oviedo, around 3 p.m. to start a city walking tour during which the group went from sculpture to sculpture (a lot them representing traditional professions linked to Oviedo). The city has over 200 such sculptures distributed around its city streets. In addition, the pristine character of Oviedo was evident during the tour since it has been declared Spain´s cleanest city.
Afterwards we walked up a small hill inside the city boundaries where our students could appreciate a full panoramic view of the exuberant natural resources of the surrounding area.
From the hilltop in Oviedo we went to a small mountain village, Cangas de Onís, and stayed at Hotel Los Lagos. Students had a free evening to explore and try Asturian cider, a local bean stew called “fabada” and rice pudding.
The next morning´s activity turned out to be our excursion highlight: A canoe trip on the river Sella. It was a lot of fun and for many it was also a new and exciting experience, especially for a few women who temporarily stressed when they unexpectedly fell out of their canoes. Everyone had a life jacket as a safety measure during the four-hour rowing journey, which included some pit stops at some river banks along the Sella. It was a pity there was no sun.
Afterwards the group returned to the hotel for a siesta and prepare for the town´s free outdoor musical festival which was held from 11:30 pm until 6:30 am on the plaza in front of the hotel. The next morning with some more tired than others, we left Cangas de Onís. We travelled to the historic port city of Gijón and its expansive sandy beaches and where our tour guide, Professor Fausto Zamora, provided us with cultural information.
ating lunch and feeling quite exhausted, we started our journey back to Alcalá; however, we arrived home late due to a large traffic jam on the highway outside of Madrid. This end of journey road experience did not beat out our wonderful time in Asturias.