This weekend's adventures led me to CANTABRIA, SPAIN!
Cantabria is the northern region of Spain, also know as España Verde - which I learned in my Spanish Culture class here in Spain this past week (see, Mom, I told you I was learning things and not just adventuring 24/7).
I'm going to essentially outline my weekend because for being just over two days of traveling and visiting new places, I did A LOT!
FRIDAY, MAY 20TH:
Our study abroad group (30 students and around 6 adults) departed Salamanca, and I fell asleep for the next few hours (I've gotten A-MAZ-ING at taking little naps whenever and where ever possible which is a new thing for me but when in Spain...), until we stopped for some breakfast.
Arrived at the first real stop at the "cuevas prehistoricas del Castillo del Puente Viesgo" - translated to prehistoric caves. I was geeking out (slang for being a lil nerdy) the entire time because a lot of the things our tour guide (who only spoke to us in Spanish - which I loved) talked about as we trekked a little under 1km underground, were things that I had learned about this past semester at JMU in my biological anthropology class. The classroom really came to life for me!
After eating lunch and driving a few mores hours through the BEAUTIFUL mountains in Cantabria, we arrived at our hotel and had five hours of free time to EXPLORE/ADVENTURE (woohoo) before 9pm dinner. A group of us decided to get all outdoorsy and go hiking which was a great idea until I realized the only shoes I had were street sneakers (in other words, soooo soooo far from hiking shoes). I sucked it up and climbed to a waterfall. This was the view:
SATURDAY, MAY 21ST:
We went up the Gondola/Cableway right by our hotel to the top of the Picos de Europa (Peaks of Europe) and all I really have to say is that I needed to be pinched several times to make sure I wasn't just dreaming. Here's why:
We arrived at the New Cave of Altamira, a replica of a cave that used to be open to the public but has been closed due to the deteriorating conditions of the cave and art inside. Let's just say by this point in the trip, we were all draining and just wanted to get to our next hotel. During this stop in Santillana, we also went to a museum of torture techniques and weapons. After visiting this museum, I am beyond glad there are laws against torture techniques like that today (think tongues cut in half, getting your skin cut off, or all joints dislocated in one motion - yeah, not too fun).
BEACH, BEACH, BEACH!!!!!!!! ...But there was endless rain. So much so that we arrived at our hotel RIGHT ON THE BEACH at 7:30pm on Saturday night, and left this same hotel RIGHT ON THE BEACH at 9:15am Sunday morning. Los Americanos do not like rain.
SUNDAY, MAY 22ND:
After departing from our hotel and driving as far away from rain as possible (also known as driving south - they don't call the north Green Spain for nothing (think endless rain)), we arrived in Burgos, Spain. In Burgos, we went to a museum on evolution - another place I was "geeking out" because I got to see even more things I had learned about in my biological anthropology class. After the museum, we grabbed lunch and wandered around the city. It was extremely beautiful, but more importantly, not raining.
We're back in Salamanca and I am dreading going back to the real world, aka classes, tomorrow. All I want to do is explore but getting my "edumacation" is important too (this sentence was added for the pleasure of my parents). I'll just have to find time in between it all to get my adventuring on, just like I always do, because I know that when something is both terrifying and amazing, it is always worth pursuing.
Te amo, España and I can't wait to see what else you have in store for me.
Next weekend: PORTUGAL :)