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Published: February 22nd 2009
Here goes part 2, another country, another uni, another experience! After a lovely month at home recharging my batteries (and writing my French year abroad project), I arrived in Oviedo on Wed 18th Feb. I was sort of looking forward to it, but also sort of not, but travelling with Rosy made it much better than it would have been alone. Literally the moment we landed, as we were waiting at the luggage carousel, we bumped into Andy, a fellow sheffielder, who had been on our flight! he introduced us to another Andy, this one from Leeds, who was returning to Oviedo after a break at home, and therefore instantly became our Oviedo tour guide. He took Rosy and I to the door of our hotel, and told us that we were going out that evening. Without him, our arrival here might have been very different; sitting in our hotel room and trying to understand the concept of Spanish TV; but instead we went out for a meal at a lovely little restaurant in the old town, then met up with a whole group of British Oviedo students, some who'd been here since September, others who had arrived in the last
Rosy and I were amazed at the fact we could get a vodka and coke for 3 euros, compared to the 6 or 7 we had to spend in Perpignan, and we had our first experience of Spanish cider. It's disgusting, but worth it for the show; the waiters pour it from stupidly high up, each trying to outdo eah other with various contortions. They only give you a little bit, but you have to down it. It's definitely an experience!
It wasn't a late night; we'd been up since 6:30 and had a lot to do the next day, such as register and move into our flat. Whilst we were apprehensive about the registration process after the difficulties we'd had in France, we were quietly confident that our flat was all sorted. However, we were mistaken on both counts. The registration process was incredibly simple, it took about 15 minutes in all. The flat was another story. We went expecting to sign the contract, but the place was awful, tiny dark rooms, no storage space, the washing machine wedged between the bath and the toilet in the bathroom, and no internet access, all for 250
euros plus bills. We'd received accommodation lists that morning when we'd registered, and a quick glance through them showed us that we were being ripped off. So we said no, and hurried back to the hotel, where we checked in for a second night and started ringing round places from the list.
The first two calls we made were both successful, and we got appointments for both for that afternoon; the first one was immediately. It was on the edge of the city, on the opposite side from the uni, but 15 minutes from the centre, and it was gorgeous. Three good-sized bedrooms, two bathrooms, a spacious kitchen and a seperate dining-living room. And the all-important WiFi. We had the second flat to see, but it was appaling, so we raced out of there and called back the lady from the first one. By six that evening, it was ours, and what's more we'd gained a flatmate. Andy had been on searches of his own, and had one possibility, but like us, when he saw this place, there was no contest, and he took up the third bedroom. To make things even better, our landlady and landlord are just lovely, they are like grandparents and make a hilarious double-act. They ruched around as we looked through the contracts, bringing out blankets, cleaning the hob, trying to pronounce our English names. As far as Ramon, the landlord, is concerned, Andy is Andres.
Friday was an exhausting day; a meeting at uni in the morning, a trip out to a big commercial park to get things from Ikea and from the big supermarket there, and then a full-on Spanish night out, which means pre-drinks at midnight, heading out at two and finishing at seven. If you want to do it properly, that means staying up until breakfast at nine, but I can't imagine that, as it was I spent Saturday feeling like hell. Whilst Andy and some of the others seem to get about 2 hours sleep the entire weekend and the rest of the time is spent drinking, I'm not going to be able to manage a full night except for once in a blue moon.
But it's definitely a good place to be. The nightlife is another world compared to Perpignan, and the city is a ncie size, with grand buildings, a mish-mash of architectural styles, large parks and squares and fountains all over the place. It will be interesting to see what the lectures are like, but so far, I'm happy here.
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