This last weekend, a friend and I decided to go on a trip west of Santander to Oviedo, Somiedo National Park, and Gijón and all of them were amazing. We left thursday for Oviedo since we did not have school on thursday because their was a holiday and I believe it was throughout all of Europe. If I understood correctly it was something similar to our Labor Day. Oviedo was great. I didn´t want to leave. There was so much history in the old part of town and that weekend there was a festival. I could start going on and on about everything I saw, but the pictures do a pretty good job at the things there. Drinking the sidra was a very cool experience. The waiters would hold the bottle up over there head and the cup down by there waist in order to pour the sidra. My host dad said they do this to lighten the amount of carbonation you take in. I really didn´t want to leave Oviedo with everything going on, but afterwards we took off for the National Park. Saturday we went on a 8+ hour hike through the park and I think we figured we hiked 35+ kilometers that day. I was so exhausted and the friend that I went with is a pretty intense hiker so we were really moving pretty good. We were able to see some pretty amazing scenary though. Saturday night we made are way up to Gijón and we were searching the entire town for a hotel and seemed like every place we went to was booked. Finally after we tried about 10 or 12 we found one with a window view of the bay area. We went to see the sites of Gijón early which was a bad idea since nothing opened until about 11 on Sunday. I would have to say the best part were the ruins of the Roman Termas. They were built in the 1st century and they were public baths for the romans.
Everything else has been going great. Mino has been really good to have around. He is very helpful with everything and he loves to talk about the history and culture of Spain. Some of it is pretty difficult to understand because I am still trying to get my Spanish down, but you can just tell he has a deep passion for that.
My classes are also going great. My grammar teacher, Manolo is awesome. The system that he is using he developed himself and I heard he is just getting a book published on it, which supposedly getting something like that published is a lot to go through and really hard to do. I feel very luck to have a teacher like that. One of the days I had class we had to sit in on Manolo´s conversation class. He has this thing called the electric chair. It is when he picks one of the students to go in front of the class, he puts a chair up ontop of a table and the student has to get up in the chair and speak Spanish for however long he decides. If you stop talking he will add on another minute. Well....since he loves giving me such a hard time..(well, I guess he likes giving everyone a hard time)...but just my luck, I was the first one to have to do it along with one other guy. It was so scary at first, but when I finished up I was so glad I did it. It was probably one of the hardest things I have had to do so far.
Anyways...this coming weekend is our longest excursion through the program. We start off in Segovia, then to Toledo, and finish off in Burgos.
Hope everyone is doing well and I will keep everyone updated on how that excursion goes.