Friday, May 3, 2013

The Lakes of Covadonga

Ever since moving to Asturias I have wanted to go visit the famous Covadonga because it played a very important part in Spanish history. (Quick language lesson- Covadonga comes from two words, cueva-cave and hondo-deep meaning "deep cave") Legend has it (loosely told) that in the year 722, Don Pelayo was living in the Asturian mountains with his army when the Moors came for them. In the cave now known as Covadonga, the virgin then showed herself to Pelayo and told him that she would protect him and he would win the war. When the Moors came, their arrows bounced off the mountains and Pelayo and his army were able to overcome them. The winning of this battle began the reconquest of Spain, and Don Pelayo is known as the First King of Spain.

Covadonga has two places to visit, the cave, and a ways up the mountain, the lakes (los lagos de covadonga). The lakes don't play a part in the legend but to me they are the most beautiful part. The lakes are tricky because they are at a high altitude. If you don't visit them in the morning, you may arrive expecting to see lakes but only see the inside of a cloud. When we went, we visited the lakes first and then drove down the mountain to see the cave.

               Lago Enol

Having too much fun! 

Later we went hiking up around the lake 

And had to climb down a really really steep hill

Lago Enol

Lago Ercina

Afterwards we went down to the monastery to visit the cave and the church. Under the cave is the beginning of a river and also a famous fountain. According to legend, whoever drinks out of every spout of the fountain in a certain order will get married in less than a year. Guess who didn't learn about that legend until after drinking: 


             Basilica of Santa MarĂ­a- Royal Basilica of Covadonga                  Holy Cave of Covadonga

                           The wishing pool                       (Water has no sanitary guarantee) Uh...good thing I didn't get sick!

At the bottom of the mountain is the picturesque mountain town of Cangas de Onis, which was the capital of the Kingdom of Asturias for 50 years after Don Pelayo defeated the Moors.

Roman Bridge of Cangas de Onis

 The first church built after the beginning of the reconquest, with a statue of Don Pelayo in front

Then we went home and planned our next Asturian adventure...stay tuned ;)

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