For our next weekend trip courtesy of IES Abroad, my friends and I traveled to Sanabria Lake the weekend of March 24-26. This trip was an optional one offered via IES Abroad for an additional fee, but the cost was well worth it. We departed from Salamanca at 8:00 AM.
After getting on the bus, our first stop was the information center for Sanabria Lake and Nature Preserve. At the center, we learned about some of the animals that live in the region, including otters and the famous Iberian wolf. We talked about the formation of Sanabria Lake, learning that it is the largest glacier formed lake in Spain. We even watched a 3D presentation on the glacial origins of the lake, learning also of the legendary story surrounding its beginning.
After learning about the information center, we headed to a restaurant called El Majo, where we had the opportunity to eat authentic food from the region. I got caldo gaellgo (Galician Soup) and ribs.
We then headed off for our first hike of the trip, the Ruta Senda de los Monjes. We were greeted at the mouth of the trail by our guide, who took us up on a trail through the mountains. The hike was filled with beautiful sights as we ascended the mountain walking by the stream. We reached a breathtaking lookout point where we played a trivia game concerning the vocabulary of the region in Spanish. At the end of the hike, we reached the monastery of San Martin de Castaneda.
After the hike, we hopped back in the bus and swung by the supermarket to grab some snacks for the weekend. From there, we headed to our cabins, which were quite spacious and cozy. For dinner, we headed into the main building of our cabin grounds and shared in an enormous and delicious meal provided by the cabin owners.
The next morning, we headed to the Centro de Interpretacion del lobo to see the famous Iberian wolves. After a presentation about the animals and their history in the region, we headed out quietly into the bunkers to take a look ourselves.
We then went on our second hike of the trip, through the Bosque del Tejedelo with the same guide from before. It was a beautiful climb and luckily we were able to beat the rain.
We ate dinner once more in the central building of our cabins complex, and following dinner, celebrated the tradition of the queimada. They prepared the special beverage with spirits, coffee beans, sugar and fruit rinds, and then lit it on fire. While I stirred the hot cauldron, various students read a chant that is typical of the queimada, as the tradition serves the purpose of cleansing the person and the environment of harmful spirits. We read the oration in English, Spanish, and Sanabrian!
Bright and early the following morning, we headed up to the top of the mountain in our bus to La Laguna de los Peces. Walking by the lake was really fun, but unbelievably cold as well, with pockets of snow visible only meters away.
To conclude our time in Sanabria, we headed into town to visit the castle and to share in one last big meal together.
As a foodie at heart, there was nothing more I could ask for in a trip than scrumptious meals coupled with the opportunity to enjoy the nature of the region. It was a far more relaxing trip than my other weekend adventures, and provided the much needed opportunity to reset.
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Kai da Luz
My name is Kai da Luz and I am a current sophomore at Villanova University who is studying in Salamanca. I love to play volleyball and am a major foodie.