As mentioned previously, we have classes in the mornings until early afternoon, Monday through Friday. Some teachers give homework while others primarily do in-class assignments. This leaves an ample amount of free time to explore the great region of Asturias and all that it has to offer.
Outside of class, most students usually spend time traveling to the nearby beaches and cities. Last week, my trip to Gijon and La Playa de Poniente was met with nothing but sunny skies and a mini adventure.
After sitting on the beach for about an hour, my friends and I decided to walk through the streets. At the top of the hill, near the seaside, we stumbled upon one of the historical landmarks in Gijon – Batería baja de Santa Catalina. This area was mainly used as the primary defense zone in warfare. Asturias is so rich in history that we discovered so much about the town without even knowing.
Another exciting part of Asturias, and Spain in general, are the scenic hiking routes available at for different levels. A few days after our visit to Gijon, a few friends and I decided to hike up Mount Naranco to see Monumento al Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (Monument of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). The route winded through the hills which at times became very vertical, but seeing the monument up close was definitely worth it.
Unknowingly, the next day in my mosaics class, we took a trip back up Mount Naranco to visit two Romanesque churches: San Miguel de Lillo and Santa Maria del Naranco. We learned the history of both of these historical landmarks. One topic I found interesting was that these churches were not included in wars and rather simply served as a place for the people to worship. In San Miguel de Lillo, they also used the church as a place to collect water which was cool to see. Considering our final mosaics project has to encompass all the field trips we take during the semester, I made sure to get some nice pictures. The sites from above Mount Naranco and the various historical landmarks truly made the mini excursion exciting.
Every Thursday night, Jaime (our program coordinator), sets up a group dinner at a local restaurant where we get to enjoy typical Asturian foods with each other. This gives us a chance to come together as Temple students and update one another on the complexities of our home-stay arrangements.
So this last Thursday night, we went to the Tennis Club of Oviedo for dinner where we each got to order individually. Here in Spain, they usually serve lunches and dinners in sets of three or even four. There is a first plate which is typically a salad, pasta, or soup, followed by a second plate which is the main entree of meat, chicken, fish, or vegetables. Then, of course, the last plate tends to be dessert such as arroz con leche, flan, or ice cream. I particularly love our dinners because the food is amazing and it gives me an excuse to dress up!