Oviedo, the capital of the Principality of Asturias.
Asturians are a very proud people. They say that “Asturias es España y lo demás tierra reconquistada”
Meaning that Asturias is Spain and what’s left is land re-claimed. It mostly holds true because at a point in history, practically everything to the north was French, and most everything to the south was Moor (Berber and Arab).
Two monks, Máximo and Fromestanus, founded the city in 761. But their are traces of occupation since the first century in Roman times. Weather-wise it’s quite similar to to Oregon and BC, maybe a bit warmer.
San Miguel de Lillo Pre-Roman
I found the city interesting, it felt a bit like Paris with wide avenues and rounded buildings decorated with, wrought iron balconies.
Jackie was at it again
Its small (187 km2 with a metropolitan population of about 227000), and it sits amid a mountainous region.
A view from the top
The beaches of the Bay of Biscay are less then 25 km away. We were not to impressed by the over develop beach front, to many "pisos"
Because the population is dense and many have apartment in the center, the city is bustling with the daily activity, but not so crowded that you feel engrossed by the density. For reference compare it to Kingston, Ontario with an area of 450 km2 and about 120000 in population, and you get an idea.
We have now being in Oviedo for four days, and are slowly starting to get acclimatized to the rhythm of Spain. There is a day care center next to Liliane aunt’s piso, and it is open from 07:45 to 20:00. Most businesses open at 10:00 then close from from 13:30 to 16:30, and then re-open until 20:00. The larger stores and supermarkets are open all day, but close at 18:00.
Companies give their employees at least an hour and a half for lunch, civil servants work from 09:00 to 14:00.
They really like Woody Allen there
The market in the center of town runs 3 times a week, on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Most restaurants and bars are closed one day of the week, and several close on Sunday.
Eating habits takes some getting use to: you have breakfast when you get up, so far so good, easy enough to handle. Then anything after that gets slightly complicated, from 1100 til 1430 only snacks are allowed, locals refer to them, as pinchos or tapas (solo par picar) only to eat a little something.
Then at or around 1430 lunch (la comida) starts, but not much later then 1530. This is usually the biggest meal of the day. Of course during that time snacks are mostly unavailable.
Time for another Paella
After 1600 to at least 1930 it is snack time again (la merienda), but this time it leans more on the sweet side at the cafeteria, or pasteleria.
Since we're on the topic we went to Valor to have Churros con Chocolate, they have been making that stuff since 1889, Churros is a very light dough that is deep fried, sprinkled with sugar, and served hot to dip in dark chocolate presented in a cup at 75 C.
Then from 2000 to about 2230 sometimes later is dinner time (la cena), a fairly light meal.
But not always.
If you think that the Spaniards spend most of their time eating, or drinking something, you’ve got it figured out. Anytime not mentioned above is usually spent drinking a coffee, a freshly squeezed juice (zumo), a beer, a glass of cider, or a glass of wine in any of the multitude of establishments such as wine bars, and sidrerias that adorn the streets.
Without missing a drop
At the grocery store, we purchased 4 bottles of wine, a 1lt bottle a water, a bag of chips, a lt of orange juice, and a can of anchovies’ stuffed olives 11.45 Euros (about $16,00 cdn) and the most expensive item was the OJ. At least they have their priorities straight.
Nothing like a nice piece of meat hanging out at the bar.
We have been privileged to be guided through the city streets by my brother in law (mi Cuñado). Don Heradio Cano Gonzalez. Born in Matagalpa in Nicaragua, he came here during the Sandinist era. A Doctor in law, and a Notary, he’s published 2 books. At the young age of 73 he still spends half the day at his law practice.
He maintains a simple approach to life, and most everything he says is tinted with humor. What a privilege it was to have such a guide to enjoy the city with.
He provided us with historical comments on many of the building, and churches we encountered, as well as on the specific aspect of the cultural, social, and political life of the Oviedences and the Asturianos.
We took pictures of the house where Liliane’s family was born
On the street that bares her family's name.
Last night we went to a piano concerto featuring the soloist Carmen Peyes.
Tomorrow, Friday we take the Camino del Sur, and head for Santiago de Compostela, in the province of Galicia.
Muchas Gracia Oviedo, hasta luego