Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tales from la ruta de Don Quijote

If you read this blog, then you probably know that I have a Spanish boyfriend (Alberto) who I met here last year. Last weekend was the weekend we met met last year so we decided to celebrate (cue awwwwws). Alberto wanted to go on a little trip but he wouldn't tell me where we were going. We met on Saturday morning and I took a siesta the entire car ride and woke up in a small pueblo somewhere in Spain. Groggy and confused I asked Alberto where exactly were we? Well, it turns out we were in Castilla La Mancha in a pueblo called Mota de Cuerva. What in tarnation does that mean, you might ask? Well, I found out its where some of the windmills that Don Quijote and Sancho fought are preserved (makes sense because our frisbee team name is Los Quijotes). They were so pretty and really well taken care of. I felt like I was in Holland! We stopped to take some pictures and walk around. Then on to the next part of the route! We drove down the road to another pueblo called Belmonte which had a castle (see picture below) that was featured in both DQ and Lord of the Rings. Fantastic! The town was really small and we went to the only restaurant there to eat an enormous lunch. Trying to break out of the food coma, we went on a tour of the castle. Several excommunicated Spanish royalty lived there as well so we went through and toured (free audio guides what upppp). The castle was really well preserved and had great views of the surrounding area from the walls.
Not wanting to waste any hours of the day we continued on our journey to Cuenca, one of the famous towns in Castilla La Mancha. Its famous because the town was built where a river used to be and so is on a spur with 2 huge gorges surrounding it. Because of the unusual geography, there are "hanging houses" which are apartments stacked on top of one another that literally hang off the edge of the town. We reached Cuenca right around dusk so it was hard to get good pictures but the town itself was adorable. You had to cross the gorge on a narrow bridge to reach the town. It was so quiet and we walked around just taking pictures (like the one below). We stopped for tapas at a place in the new part of the city and then stumbled upon a free concert in the middle of town!

Exhausted we drove to the casa rural which was 30 minutes outside of Cuenca. Casas rurales are bed and breakfast-like spots that are all over Spain. A lot of times Spaniards will go to to a casa rural with a lot of their friends for a weekend to get out of the city. The one we stayed at was really cute and served a delish breakfast. After leaving the casa rural we went to see some Roman ruins that were in the town then drove on to see la cuidad encantada or the "enchanted city". Well it turns out it wasn't a city or enchanted, but lots of really cool rock formations in one concentrated area. Voila, tourist attraction! Alberto and I got a picnic for lunch and set about walking around the "city". We got to see rocks like this one:

After a 2 full days of touring around Castilla la Mancha we headed back home to Madrid. Although I love Madrid, it is really nice to get out of the city every once and a while to breathe the fresh air and enjoy how quiet it is.

Have no fear

New blog posts will be here! Sorry lovely readers that I haven't posted in a while but my camera won't transfer the pictures onto my computer. I went on a trip last weekend and am celebrating Halloween at school so I have a lot to write about and lots of pictures! Stay tuned!

Friday, October 22, 2010

boring Saturdays be gone!

In an effort to do more things in Madrid and really take advantage of our life here, Allison and I decided to do something on a Saturday morning. Since going out with friends at night is a big part of Spanish culture so getting up early on Saturday morning is quite a task haha. But we saw posters last weekend that Avon was sponsoring a walk for breast cancer. Its a great cause so we decided hey, why not? Getting up for a walk at 10 am's not so bad right? Right? Okay it's really hard but once we were up and arrived at the race I was really glad I was there. We got a t-shirt since there was no registration and they were handing out pink balloons to carry as we were walking. It was really fun to see all the balloons when everyone was walking. However, being a walk (as opposed to a 5K or something) and everyone was Spanish it was a the SLOWEST pace ever. Like Allison and I were shuffling along basically. Although the pace made me crazy the march provided a DJ out of the back of a van and a drumline which really pumped up the crowd. The best part was when we reached the end of the path we were walking on and had to turn around to go back. Everyone was waiting for the front of the march to start moving and everything was at a standstill. We were wondering what the hold up was and so we moved up to try to see what was going on. There were about 10 women holding an Avon sign and trying to move at the same time. However, doing this is practically impossible and even funnier when all them were bickering at each other in Spanish. Ohhhhh Spain. After working out this snafu we walked back to the finish line and collected our free drink and goodie bag!! We got soy milk, a granola bar, and Avon hand lotion. This getting up on Saturday thing might work out after all...

The sign ladies trying to march in unison haha

Rocking my pink tee!