Monday, May 30, 2011

Back from holidays

It's been a while since my last post here and even though I came back home more than a week ago I hadn't posted anything yet because I needed to organize a lot of things first: starting with my mind, work, pictures, meeting friends and so on.

Where to start?

Asturias (taken from Wikipedia)
Since I moved to Iceland I had only been travelling on the island (which has been great and I mean GREAT) but sometimes it is good to change the air and go somewhere else. This is an island and sometimes you really feel like you are totally isolated and away from everything so it is more than necessary to get in touch with something different.

This spring's destination was Spain and more specifically Asturias.

Asturias is absolutely different from what everybody has in mind about Spain: sun, beach, party, etc. No, no. Far from that, being the key features of Asturian geography its rugged coastal cliffs facing the Cantabric Sea, the mountain interiors, forests everywhere and a nice template climate.

Now, why Asturias? I have a very good friend who lives in Oviedo, the capital of Asturias. Laura and I met about eight years ago in Santiago de Chile while she was finishing her career there as an exchange student. Last year she came to visit me to Iceland and now it was my turn to go and visit her. 

Laura and us in Cudillero
The trip began in Madrid where we spent a weekend. I always say that living in Iceland spoils people. Everything is close, tiny and very familiar. Being in a huge city, as Madrid, was a bit of a shock (but not in a bad way). So much noise, people everywhere, traffic, commerce and the possibility of getting lost in lost that was something that even though I can say I was missing (because Santiago is like that also) after two days I thought I had enough of it and moving up north was the best thing to do. 


One of the first things we made was to visit a market. Oh how I miss markets! Fresh fruit! Lots of them! I ate some fruits that I hadn't eaten since I moved here! Peaches, papayas and medlars. 

Mercado - Madrid

Market - Madrid

Mercado - Madrid

Once in Asturias we stayed mostly in Oviedo and Villaverde and moved from there. 

Oviedo desde cerro Naranco
Oviedo from Cerro Naranco


Everything we saw was breathtaking: 

Beautiful beaches


Including Gulpiyuri: a very peculiar beach that on a cliff about 100m away from the coast  and surounded by a green meadow

(Picture taken from the internet)
Playa de Gulpiyuri

Small  towns and villages 
Puente Romano
Cangas de Onís


Costanera - Ribadesella

Among others.

Like Cuevona: the only access to the village of Cuevas is driving  through a natural 300m long cave.


Cuevona de Cueves

And Cobijero, a cave that ends next to sea deep in the cliff:


Mountains everywhere (unfortunetely it was cloudy most of the time so we couldn't see the European Peaks) 
Eurpean Peaks (pic by Paco Lavín)

And green everywhere!
Driving through green tunnels



I think I could be writing many pages about everythig we saw... so I better share with you the pictures I put on my Flickr gallery (I am still uploading pics, still going through them... so if you are interested you can always check again for updates :)

Another thing that I made while I was in Oviedo was to meet with Hiro, a Revelry friend, that lives in Langreo, very close to Oviedo. We spent a very nice day day together. She took us to Langreo, her hometown, and had lunch there (wow, I can't believe how much I ate there!) and visited the MUMI (Museo de la Minería, The Mining Industry Museum). Hiro started an online shop ( and has really cool things there. 

We also made a little trade: I took for her plötulopi so she can knit a lopapeysa and some candy and she gave me SO MANY THINGS!!: sweet wine, a skein of baby alpaca, stitch markers, needle holders and bag (all made by her). If you read this Hiro: ¡Muchas gracias nuevamente por todo especialmente tu hospitalidad y generosidad!

Time went really fast, I it always does when we are having fun! It was an amazing time. I am really looking forward to coming back there and very soon!

About knitting. Even though I took the Lilac shawl with me I think I managed to knit just one pattern repetition. We were really too busy travelling, eating and having fun that there was almost no time for knitting! So, the shawl is pretty much the same: I am done with 14 repetitions (and I am planning to make at least 30, the shawl has to be really long) and I still have to think about the border.

Since I came back home I decided to finish the lopapeysa for my friend in Argentina NOW! Before travelling I had the body and one sleeve done. I have managed to finish the second arm and I am already knitting the yoke (yes! the fun part finally!). It is looking really good and I think it will be done either tonight or tomorrow :)

JC - Yoke section

For now I am trying to keep the focus in these two projects and then think about what comes next... it has been really hard! Especially because in Asturias we visited the shop of a friend of Laura in Avilés and I bought bobbins (bolillos) and a couple of books: yes, I will try to learn how to make bobbin lace just with a book. SO WISH ME LUCK! 

By now, I am still waiting for the bobbins to come because I sent them through the mail (we bought so many things that we decided to send a couple of boxes instead of paying to the airline for the extra kilos). 

Now I just have to be patient.


  1. Skemmtilegt að lesa ferðasöguna ykkar og sjá þessar dásamlegu myndir. Mikið ótrúlega eru þetta fallegir staðir og magnaðar ljósmyndir hjá þér! Takk fyrir að deila þessu með okkur hinum!

  2. I'm glad you have a wonderful holidays in Spain.
    I'm planning to go this summer, I hope.
    Me alegro de que disfrutaras con esa alfombra verde decorada de brumas, con sus calles y gentes.
    tengo la sensación de que te has traído a Islandia muy buenos recuerdos.

  3. ohhh Rodri pensaba y que algun volvcan te habia tragado :(
    como estas, parece que lo pasaste regio y eso es lo lindo no?
    que hermosas fotos , me hacen recordar el sur de nuestro pais ..que indoooo
    bueno y ahora a tejer , jejeje, espero que termines el chal , y que el jersey quede bueno !!!
    yo sigo tejiendo , perparando cosas para mi grupo en ravelry
    que de hecho debo invitarte , ya que haremos un swap en octubre !!!
    bueno Rdri aqui mucho calor , y entreidas y venidas al roland garros ...
    muchos besitos , cuidese harto

  4. QUIERO MI LOPAPEYSA!!! Yo debo confesarte que estoy retrasadísimo, porque el cuadro quedó en lo de ya sabemos quien y no pude avanzar nada de nada... Apenas junte un poco de ánimo lo sigo.
    Me alegro que te haya gustado Madrid, es uno de mis lugares preferidos del mundo.
    Besos a todos!

  5. What beautiful places you visited. I haven't been to Spain for soooo many years, this post makes me want to travel!
    Your lopapeysa looks gorgeous and I can't wait to see the shawl when it's finished!

  6. Bienvenido de nuevo!!!!

  7. you did a very nice trip
    your sweater is well advanced it'll be glad your friend

  8. Oh, I want to visit Asturias! :-) Beautiful.

    You´re a brave man. Learning how to make a bobbin lace just with a book... To me a bobbin lace always seemed too intricate. But I like watching people making it.

  9. Earlier tonight I wrote a long comment for you and toward the end scrolled up to look at a photo for reference. When I scrolled back down, my comment was totally gone!! :-( Couldn't believe it. Couldn't face starting all over again right then, so will come back another time and try again. Sigh... Your photos are wonderful! All for now.

    Grrr...Google is not letting me post on several blogs, including yours, and I don't know why. Don't know if you can do anything about it on your end, but for now I am "Anonymous"..............Judi A.

  10. Alex: jaja, todo bien. Afortunadamente llegué un par de días antes de que el volcán empezara a erupcionar. Asturias: un sueno! Me dio una pena tener que volver! Además que no sé que está pasando por aquí que el verano no llega. Todavía hace frío. Toda la semana pasada la temperatura con suerte llegó a los 7°C... esta ha estado más tibio (10°C)... por lo menos tenemos luz todo el día y toda la noche (a falta de calor buena es la luz, no?).

    JC: Tranqui. No hay prisa. TU lopapeysa ya está casi listo... hoy lo remato :) A ver si nos encontramos un día de estos en el skype :)

    Knittingmydayaway: Þetta var fyrsta skiptið mitt á Spáni (og Evrópu fyrir utan Ísland). Þetta var frábært! Ég hlakka svo til í að fara þangað aftur til að sjá meira!

    Cristina: Gracias!!

    Bea: I think that my friend is loving it :)

    Ada: hehe, I know that bobbin lace is a huuuuge challenge! But I will give a try. I have already started with the first excercise of one the book I got. It hasn't been so bad this far :) It is SO beautiful!!

    Judi: Awww!! I was starting to miss your comment. I hate it when that happens! I totally understand that you didn't feel like writing it all over again... I wouldn't have done it either. Vacactions were wonderful... I think you can tell by looking at the pics :) How is everything with you?

    (I don´t know what is wrong with blogger... i think it sometimes get a little crazy. I remember one day it erased all the blogsI was following and after a few hours they were all there again... strange thing. So maybe it was just a temporary failure :)

  11. Here I am again to try and write without losing it,and not be interrupted in the process,but...
    I couldn't believe all of your beautiful pictures! I had to go thru them all on flikr a couple of times (should have checked them again before starting this, but...)Which camera did you use? You certainly have a photographer's eye! I think my favorite pictures of all are the ones of the colorful houses close together on the streets and situated on the sides of the hills. Love, love, love all the colors and color combinations. Wish Americans would paint their houses like that. The area here is at the end of the Appalachian Mountains (more like hills to me after living around true, rocky mountains)so I'm used to houses on the side of hills, but they certainly are not that colorful!:-( If you can drive through it, why isn't it called a tunnel instead of a cave? I guess because it was originally a cave, but... The photo of the one by the sea is absolutely gorgeous!! Do you not get much "green" in Iceland? How warm will it get in the summer months? Unfortunately we are already into beastly hot days, breaking long standing records and only anticipating more of the same. :-( I had to look up what a Medlar is and when I read it has to be practically rotten to eat it, I was NO WAY!! Uh-uh! No thank-you!! Why would anyone even think of eating such a thing? Wonder who thought of trying it in the first place and why. Probably some primitive dare. You may tell me it was good and worth the try, but... Now, all the delicious goodies in that glass case are a different story. I'd probably have to try each and every one of those. FYI: every tooth in my mouth is a "sweet tooth." :-) So are you now on a restricted diet regime after all of your indulging? Hope not - no fun, but... I had to look up to confirm what I was thinking in my mind exactly what bobbin lace is. I think it was all of that mountain and foreign air, and too much food and drink, creating the feeling of anything is possible to make you even consider such a thing! You really have lost it. I'm sure no one can convince you otherwise, but... Maybe you should stick to knitting your lopapeysas and your beautiful knit shawls, or just "take two aspirin and go to bed" until this urge has passed.:-) Maybe it's that cold Icelandic air reaching your brain. Hmmm...
    Life has been a bit crazy for me lately, so like you, the knitting had gone by the wayside for awhile. I had to back-out of the scarf test knit, which was very difficult for me as I'm not used to not fulfilling my commitments, but... I do hope to finish it sometime down the road but for now I'm doing some simple, non-thinking knitting for awhile, just so I can still do some knitting amid the chaos. Guess that's all for now. Need to go tend to a couple of things and then hope to pop back to add a comment to your recent blog. Thank you for allowing me to travel with you on your vacation via your photos. Such a treat. :-)

    Not even trying Google this time - too frustrating - so shall remain "Anonymous."....Judi A. :-)

  12. Asturias es una pasada. Es todo precioso. Yo he estado un par de veces y he visto casi todos los sitios que pones en las fotos. Me encanta. Me alegro de que lo hayas pasado tan bien y hayas aprovechado al máximo el viaje. Un beso

  13. Hey (still anonymous) Judi!
    Thank you for your lovely (as usual) comment :)
    I am also still looking at the pictures everyday and freaking out with how beautiful everything is! I used two cameras: a little compact digital one which is a Panasonic DMC TZ3 and an analogical one, an old 35mm Zenit 122. I really enjoy taking pictures and I am very happy that you like them :) When I was still in med school we had to take every year one subject for one semester that was now related to medicine at all. One semester I took photography. I guess it was very helpful :)

    The place with the colorful houses and the beautiful lighthouse is definetely one of my favourites. It is called Cudillero and it is TINY!

    You're right about the cave. It was there before they made the road through it but it has always been the only access to a little village called Cuevas. It is pretty amazing to walk (or drive) through it. The other cave is also amazing, Cobijero, it was a bit scary though. We had to walk almost half of it bending and taking care not to bump our heads against the rock and not fall because the ground was very slipery (in hight tide the sea goes all the way in) and it was pretty dark inside and we had only ONE tiny flashlight! ha!

    Iceland get very green during summer (which doesnt happen in GREENland, hehe). But it is different. There are very few trees in Iceland so it is mostly moss and grass. Here you can see a picture I took a couple of summers ago and see how green this is:

    Medlars... hummm... I just love them and eating one after so many years was certainly amazing! Now I think of all the medlars that I didn't eat when I was in Chile and had a tree at home! Where did you read that they have to be rotten? It is not like that. They just have to be mature enough to be eaten. They are really good. I hope you get to have the chance to try one!

    Dieting?! Hehe, nah. I am just back to trying to eat normally (like a human being I mean cause during vacation I ate as anything but a normal human being, hehe). Food in Asturias was so good! And somehow so familiar! I found a lot of things that I normally ate when I was in Chile that are not available here in Iceland or it is really difficult and expensive to get, like goat cheese.

    Bobbin lace is something that I always looked at like being impossible. But why not give it a try? It is really beautiful and what I think is: if there is people who can do it... why not me?! We'll see what happens. But it is funny that you mention it because a lot of people think that I am losing it... even the woman who sold me the bobbins and the books :)

    I hope everything will be less crazy soon so you can go back to knitting again :)

    Cybernekanekane: Asturias es de verdad una pasada! No hubo nada que no me gustara... la gente: increíble. La comida: pff, imposible para de comer. El paisaje: me volví loco sacando fotos! Por ahora, me quedan las ganas de volver. Y espero hacerlo pronto :)
    Gracias por pasar por mi blog!
    Un beso para ti también :)

  14. Estos jerseys los conocía de hace mil años, pero no tenía ni idea de que se llamaban Lopapeysa. Siempre me han gustado mucho, pero me parece que son muy difíciles.
    He visitado tu blog y me gusta mucho. Cuando tenga más tiempo iré viéndolo más en detalle.

  15. Me alegra que te guste mi país ;)) Has hecho unas fotos magníficas!!
    Y Asturias es una de las regiones más bonitas y con una gente fantástica!!
    Me encantan tus jerseys y los chales que haces. Tengo que pasear por tu blog con tranquilidad.
    Te dejo enlazada al mío, si no te importa.
    Un beso