Monday, June 25, 2007

San Juan

Las Hogueras de San Juan. La playa de Gijon. Celtic Traditions. etc. I'll rewrite this later, but I like this picture so I'm posting it now... look for more San Juan info later. :) I was up for almost 24 hours straight!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Holland is a picture perfect land of tulips, windmills, canals, scandalous shops, apple pie, painters, East Dutch India Company, bikes, delftware and some of narrowest houses in the world! I'm writing this entry from Amsterdam. This weekend was the "free" weekend for the students in Oviedo and so I was able to travel a little too. :) I like Holland and here are some reasons why...

Everyone speaks English and are very friendly and helpful - sometimes I take it for granted that I can travel in so many (Spanish speaking) countries and not have to worry about the language. Yet don't forget that the Netherlands has a Spanish connection since it was part of the Kingdom of Spain for a long time.

The architecture en Holland is very appealing. I love the tall narrow buildings with very high ceilings, fun staircases and little attics. We had the chance to explore several beautiful houses that are now museums. Two of the houses have powerful stories to tell about the Nazi occupacion of Holland during WWII. One of the houses is the Anne Frank house which was very interesting. The other house, and my favorite, is the Corrie Ten Boom house in Haarlem. I read been reading The Hiding Place which tells the life story of Corrie who worked with the Dutch Underground and hid people during the war. It was amazing to be in a house that was so well described in literature. It felt like the Ten Boom family could still be living there. I highly recommend the book and the house.

There are two more things that I enjoyed about Holland (well actually there are more but only two more I'm going to mention right now). As I mentioned before Holland is a picture perfect place and that may account for all the amazing dutch artists either that are else there might be something in the water here (and there is a lot of water here!). I really enjoyed the Van Gogh museum which has about 200 of his paintings. A few years back I read a biography on Van Gogh, Lust for Life. It was very interesting to read the life story who never was very famous during his life and yet today to super famous. The book also talks about several paintings and when and where Van Gogh painted them; it was extra nice to have this little background. I also enjoyed the Vermeer and Rembrandt rooms in the Rijksmuseum.

Finally one can't talk of Holland without thinking of tulips! Unfortunately tulip season es mostly done for the season. But you can still see this dutch symbol everywhere. I took advantage of the opportunity to make a long term investment in tulips. hahaha I bought a large collection of dutch tulip bulbs and they are being sent to the USA. In order to get tulip bulbs into the USA you need to have them certified. Now before you think I spent tons of money let me tell you that it was a very good price and they are going to be lovely flowers. It will be an investment that will sprout every Spring and last for many many years; something I can look at each Spring and remember my visit to Holland!

I amsterdam

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Living Nature in Spain

For one of the weekend excursions we went canoeing on the Sela River. It was very pleasant being out in nature. Each canoe had room for two people and came with a water tight container with a lunch. We stopped at one of the many riverside beaches for lunch. The students had a great time and a there were only a few that ended up in the river and only one canoe that went the way of the Titanic. There was even some bridge jumping at the end of the trip. All said it was a nice day on the river.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

El Naranco

The other day a group of students and I climbed up the small montain North of Oviedo. On a clear day from the top you can see the ocean to the North and the mountains to the South. On the way down we visited two pre-romanesque buildings. The first, San Miguel de Lillo, was built by King Ramiro I in 848. The second known as Santa Maria del Naranco (Picture to the right) was also built during the time of Ramiro I as a summer/country residence.

San Miguel de Lillo

U of U student on top of Monte Naranco - Oviedo, Spain 2007


After dropping my things off in Oviedo. I went down to Salamanca with my friend Patrick. We had a nice, somewhat rainy, time in Salamanca. The University of Salamanca was founded in 1218! Yes they are getting ready to celebrate 800 years as a university. Just to put this in perspective... the University of Oviedo was founded in 1608. They will celebrate their 400th annivesary next year. The University of Utah was founded in 1850. The U will turn 400 years old in the year 2250 and will turn 800 years old in 2650! Something tells me that I will not be around for either of those anniversaries. :)

One of my favorite stories from the University of Salamanca has to do with Fray Luis de Leon. He taught at Salamanca in the 15oo's. Fray Luis got into a little trouble with the Spanish Inquistion for translating part of the Bible from Latin to Spanish (Heaven forbid!). He was in prison for four years after which he returned to teach and started the class saying "Dicébamus hesterna díe..." (As we were saying yesterday) and continued with his lecture as if nothing had happened. :) I visited the classroom where he taught (see picture below) and found the benches and desks interesting. They are very rustic and look very uncomfortable, but in the day they were considered a luxury.
The classroom where Fray Luis de Leon taught

A bibliophile's playground!

La Catedral de Salamanca

Casa de las Conchas (currently the public library)

Scattered remains of happy moments in Salamanca

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

La catedral de Oviedo

This is the beautiful gothic cathedral en Oviedo.
It is about 100 meters from my apartment! :)
La Regenta

Northern Spain Excursion

On Saturday we went to the beach and on the way we stopped and the beautiful 9th century church, San Salvador de Valdediós. It was finished in 983! It is small, beautiful and simple (simply amazing!). Apart from the age one thing I love this kind of church is that they are deliciously cool and refreshing inside. Here are a few pictures of San Salvador de Valdediós.

San Salvador de Valdediós

San Salvador de Valdediós

Playa Rodiles

Sunday, June 3, 2007


Well, the first week has come to an end. It was a nice week. I work with some wonderful people. So far we have had a few "little" issues and problems, but everything seems to be settling into place.

There is another group from Utah in a city near here called Gijon. Two of my good friends and fellow gradstudents are working there. I went and visited them this week and they showed me around Gijon. Then they came to Oviedo and we had a wonderful time.

I'm working on some new pictures and some more detailed blogs. Look for more to come in the next couple days.