Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Feria del Orujo!!

First things first:

Wow, I'm really going to miss Spanish coffee.

Now for another three week summary. I spent the 9th-11th of November in Cantabria. From Salamanca I bussed to Santander, but this wasn't my final destination. And I'm glad it wasn't. Santander didn't strike me as anything special (plus they were in the middle of replanning the city so construction everywhere and I didn't even make it to the beach). It didn't have the life San Sebastian had, not to mention the food... I did get lucky though. I asked a woman with a baby for directions to a decent pension and she saved me over 50 euros. But no, my goal for this particular weekend was more focused than most of my excursions. I went to Santander to ultimately go to Potes, Cantabria for, (get this), La Feria del Orujo!!! (Festival of Orujo!!!!) Have I not taken the liberty to mention this spectacular drink? Orujo is most traditional to Autonomous Communities (not provences, states, or cantons) Galicia and Cantabria. It's a licor made from zumo de mosta (juice of mosta grape). They make it in all kinds of flavors: Aguardiente, Blanco/Tostado, Cafe, Cafe con Leche, Yogur, Fresa (super delicious, super expensive), Crema de Orujo (my licor cabinet mostly contains various bottles of this type), de Hiervas, Crema de Aguardiente (I've only ever seen this in Valencia) y mucho mas...

There are so many types, most of them I've only ever seen in Cantabria. I discovered Crema de Orujo in the supermarket here in Salamanca. I wanted to try something new besides red wine or beer, but still, something Spanish. I asked a friendly-looking Spaniard what it was and she lit up when she explained it, so I took it. It continues to be my drink of choice by far...

I describe it as the best-kept secret of Spain. (We've all heard of Sangria and La Rioja, but have we heard of Orujo???)

Anyway, the next bus to Potes left at 15:30 and wouldn't come back until 11:30 the next day. As a competent human being, I was hesitant. As a youthful, naive traveler, I was ready. This trip would test me in ways I never thought possible. Just kidding. I speak enough Spanish to keep a conversation and I love Spanish clubs (no house beats!). I made some friends on the bus and we stayed together the whole night. Three of them were exchange students from Mexico and one was a master's student from Asturias (Espana).

Believe me, I had no idea what I was in for. Three shots of any kind of Orujo for 1 euro. This was not a classy Swiss wine tasting. A band played a remix of Enrique Inglesias' "Hereo" at the end of the night.

Between all the time I was there, I had tried all types of Orujo and we only went to two bars, but they were the two best bars of my existence. Not too crowded, steller music, no flashing lights, the bathrooms had toilette paper. Yes, in Spain, this is what makes a wholesome hotspot.

Not to mention, if you just stepped outside, you could enjoy the cool night air and gaze at the Picos de Europa while enjoying you're Orujo con Sabor de Fresa (four euros a glass, ouch!).

Can't forget the classics of Spanish bars: Noche de Estrellas, Hasta q Salga el Sol, Angelito sin Alas, remix de Danza Kuduro, Sube las Manos pa' Arriba, Bailando por Ahi, and the list continues.

Around 6:30, I hit my limit. The music was still bumpin and I was wearing good boots, but everyone has a limit.

The owners of the pension were concerned that I hadn't been there that night but they were quite proud of me for exploring where few foreigners dare to go.

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