Tuesday, April 8, 2014

City of Echoes

The drives through Spain are just breathtaking in the Northern Region. One minute it's the ocean, the next a crystal aqua river ... so clean running along the road, followed by rocky mountains caving in, and suddenly a small village hidden amongst it all.

As I stepped out of the car to Cangas del Narcea, I felt I truly stepped back in time. People here were dressed differently, the buildings were preserved from the ages of my great grandparents. Life was slower here, peaceful. Well at least 90% of the time. I was in for a suprise.

Two days after my arrival, I was announced that the cities festival was taking place for a whole week. " Festival? Great! This work just keeps getting better and better!", I thought. And it was great, it really was, if I was not a light sleeper. The festival was held in tradition of groups of locals who each contributed to the cities life. The families father I stayed with was apart of one of the groups, and therefore I got to experience this wonderful event to the fullest. 

The morning would start of with fireworks. Then life would go on. Night fell, and the groups would each have dinners together, before preparing for the night fireworks.Here was a view from my window:

And, then night:

And then....celebrations!:

Rather then silly little clips, once I have more time I will be compiling my clips into videos with better quality videos. I plan to write less, show more.

Free Wine Parade Truck..ALL LOCAL!

Goats/Sheep...king of cheese.

My favorite group, The 1970's tree huggers.
Set, go!
And I'm off!

So that week was great, but here was the catch. No sleep. Something for something. The celebrations were on 24/7. Morning fireworks, parades, large dinners, endless live music till 5 a.m., and then all over again. It was a mix of WW4, Coachella Concert of Spain, and Santa Clause Parade...yep something like a mixture of all that. The city of Echoes, made it a tad unbearable at points...as everything echoed the winding villages streets, and sadly...my bedroom walls all night. The beauty of the village being nestled with 360 degrees of mountains brings unexpected volume of noise at not such anticipated times. But all in all, I had the best time, though I was looking forward to some peace....little did I know what was waiting for me in about 2 weeks !

[ to be continued...]


Dear Diary,

This past year has been a whirlwind of adventure, and attaining one step closer to what I know is my happy place. I yet again embarked on a scenic, unplanned journey to the Northern Spanish lands. A hidden oasis, attaining just about EVERYTHING I love. EVERYTHING in one small northern region.

Welcome to Asturias.

I did not know what to expect upon my arrival. The family I was teaching English for...I only briefly met a week before VIA Skype. [ Note: This is a trait I am re-known for - the last minute decision] .

The train ride from Madrid to Asturias was quite beautiful - however quite thrilling after I found out the same company train's previous cart ( which I was originally supposed to be on minus my flight delay), had a crash... from speeding. This all made sense...as I sat in the passenger cart wondering to myself why can a small train like this be so speedy, meanwhile a large company such as VIA is a turtle in comparison. I guess the hare sometimes is the better option.

Right so back to the family.

Safely arrived, all sweaty, and non- presentable to the Skype version of myself, I could tell the family was a bit shocked. Not the best ' second' impression, but nothing a quick shower cannot fix.  My first destination was in the old, historic city of Oviedo. There they had a beautifully, crowded, artistic flat I would be visiting every weekend during my free time.

Of course, I was very ill prepared for this destination, and in utter disbelief ...almost crying of joy when I discovered that it's a surf paradise of Europe. I was only a 30 minute ride from Salinas...and to my luck got to meet , and stay with an amazing family of surfers. The VANS contest was also taking place within a week, which was an unreal experience.

So this is how my work looked between the lessons of teaching my chill family some English: 
Surf House
Me after a full day of nature fun

Second Familia ( bottom right: My Robinson Crusoe)

Board, room, and sun. All I need.

My beach house room.

Salinas Surf
After the beach, the new friends and family I met, would all gather up at the village of VW campers nestled on the beachfront, with dinners being prepared by the wives, guitar jamming from the many talented husbands, and games with the children. All accompanied by the crashing of waves, and starry night above us, gleaming like crystals sparkling to the melodies of these Spanish gypsies.  

I mean I knew I would find a way ONE DAY to live this life, I just was not aware it was so soon and so unexpectedly. It's true about great things coming when not planned. Works in my favor.

During the day, we'd have siestas daily with ridiculously beautiful, homemade, buffets. This is almost a daily thing...imagine that.Then running around with the childish 'adults' who never lost their sense of fun, skateboarding with their children...sometimes I would mistake the fathers for the children's older brothers. 

If the sun was too hot, I'd hit the shade on a walk along the coast, with the cliffs providing me enough darkness till the evening hit. I'd catch up on some great novels, write in my journal, or meditate. It was a divine opportunity for all these downtime activities, given the countless nooks of caves and rocks I found to perch on,  with the ocean just a few inches from my toes.  Everything was great in Salinas, even the otherwise downsides such as the ruthless drowning story.

[ I was so excited to hit the waves the first day of arrival, without asking about the currents. Still jet lagged, I splashed, and dove my way through waves, until I turned around to take a peek at friends on the shore...looking like ants. I floated on my back, staring at the beautiful sky, enjoying this peace far from the shore. Once I was ready to come back...that's when trouble hit. Without a board..the waves crashed me, pulling me under, with only seconds of breath between each crash. It took me a great amount of luck and no-panick methods to flop myself back to shore. Here is the funny part, as this was happening, a group of slightly older American boys were jumping in the waves, photographing their joy. Seeing me, flopping in the waves , hair covering the front of my face, bikini in some position that was not wearable, thought I was just some crazy girl, having the time of my life...little did they know I was au contraire trying to save my life.

" Hey, hey you! You speak English? Could you take a photo?!", one asked. " What?...*SPLASH*...Yes...*SPLASH*... Please pull me out!...*SPLASH*...I'll take the photo...", I managed to get out.

And the rest was history.  Though history manages to repeat itself many times in my future. Lesson NOT learned.

Right, so after Salinas, I took adventure in Oviedo. The city was beautiful, the architecture all influenced from the Cuban settlers- take Hemingways home in Florida...and multiply it times thousands...that is Oviedo.

The streets were spotless. I mean Toronto and New York....and well anywhere was a dirtbag to this place. 5 A.M., and the daily road cleaning began. Trucks could be seen mopping, brushing and dusting the streets, alley after alley. By the time the city awoke, everything looked like it's been washed by a great rainfall the night before, sparkling in the morning sun.

 One well rested morning I woke up to hit the city, and take a walk on the outskirts greenery. Old men were already sitting in their local favorite cafes, espresso in one hand, gazette in the other, and company around. I found my way to one of the metro's and made my way past the city, up to San Miguel De Lillo. 

Sitting in a hidden hut, snapping the view.

The under-estimated beauty held within.

Selfie time.

Beautiful route down.
Coming up , the Chapel was nested among small mountains surrounding Oviedo. After admiring the beauty and surroundings, of course I decided to skip the metro at any given opportunity, and use my legs to learn the life of the locals.  The route back from the the hills to the city provided endless scenery of tunneled tree route ( as above), old stone farm houses, and as I was approaching the city, countless mosaic exterior homes. It was a feast for my eyes. 

As I got into the city, I took a few days to tour the little things: 

Equivalent to Central Park, but more lush and beautiful.

One of my favorite producers in one of my favorite countries[ Woody Allen].

1744...so old.

 Right, so I could talk endlessly of some things that happened, but that's for my personal diary, and sweet memories of secrets. Next destination- the majestic village of Cangas.