Once a month, all of us from Temple eat out together with Jaime, the director. It’s called “Jaime Dinner” and, although we unfortunately had our last one a few weeks ago (which was grrrrrrrrreat!), we still had a weekend trip included in our program. This past weekend, we all (minus one who was in Ibiza) crowded into a bus and set off to discover yet another Spanish treasure: Cabrales and Los Picos de Europa.
As I mentioned in my earlier post about the amazing night with 40 cheeses, Cabrales is a municipality in eastern Asturias with a little less than 3,000 inhabitants. Its handful of towns is where the famous Queso de Cabrales, or Cabrales cheese, is made. And it has to be made here to be called Cabrales. Our first stop on the trip was Asiegu, one of its towns. We hopped off the bus and started by taking a stroll through the town and the countryside. The view was amazing, as it pretty much always is in Asturias:
After walking for a little while and getting bits of information from our tour guide in the meantime, we came to the actual cave where the cheese gets to sit while the mold grows. Some caves in the region are man-made but our guide assured us that this one was natural:
Afterward, we went back into town and went to a llagar, the place where sidra is made, for an espicha, a meal where typical Asturian dishes are continuously being brought out. You pick on (or stuff your face with) food, drink sidra, talk, laugh and just have a good time. Speaking of the sidra, which was excellent, look where comes from:
THE CEILING. It was a dream come true. It was as if it was raining down from the heavens…I could go on about sidra forever, but I won’t. I’ll just say it was awesome and move on.
After the espicha, we piled on the bus again and said goodbye to Cabrales. Tired and llenísimos, we all took a well deserved siesta and managed to cross the Asturias-Cantabria border while we were sleeping to arrive in Potes, the town where we were staying for the night. We walked around for a few hours, ate dinner together, got a little rowdy in the hotel and got yelled at in Spanish by the lady at the front desk. You know, the usual.
The next morning, we headed out around 11 to Fuente Dé where we took a cable car to the TOP OF A MOUNTAIN:
It was built in the fifties but the ride to the top was smooth. The change in altitude within a five-minute ride was incredible. The mountains are capped with snow and a coat was pretty much necessary, even though we’d been wearing t-shirts at the bottom. And when we got to the top, everyone instantly whipped out the cameras. The Picos de Europa (the Peaks of Europe) are a mountain range in the Cantabrian mountains. Supposedly, they got their name because they were the first thing you could see when sailing from the Americas to Europe. What an incredible view:
The Picos also offer trails for hiking, something I’ll definitely be looking into in the near future. We took a ton of photos, stood on a metal deck hanging off the mountain, fought in the snow, raced, and ate together again. After a stay at the top that seemed way to short, The Freak Squad descended, climbed into the bus again and made our way back to Oviedo.