Sidra has been a big part of our Asturian experience — from learning the art of the Escanciado, to sitting with friends at one of the many sidrerías on Calle Gascona. There’s something grandly social about cider, and we’ve made sure to drink as much as possible.
At the end of the 19th century, Spain was mired in one of its darkest periods. Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines were gone as a result of the Spanish-American War, and an unsuccessful attempt to conquer Morocco had left the country in a tailspin. Many escaped to the New World, where society was on the rise rather than in decline. This included a massive number of Asturians: mostly single, young and ambitious. They lent their enthusiasm to the growing countries of the Western Hemisphere, and made a fortune doing so.
The incredible Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias is smack dab in the middle of Oviedo, just meters away from the Cathedral. Filled with modern and classic works spanning centuries, a visit is indispensable, especially considering the happy fact that it’s free.
While we were in Oviedo, I found myself thinking a lot about mining for the first time in my life. The trapped Chilean miners were making headlines worldwide, a miner’s strike was big news in Spain. But once I started considering the profession, I couldn’t turn my mind off it. The vulgar exploitation of both workers and the earth for the further enrichment of corporations makes the mining industry the zenith of human greed and misery. There’s something grotesquely romantic about it.
Buildings & Monuments Cathedral Santa María del Naranco San Miguel de Lillo El Mercado del Fontán Palacio de Congresos Estadio Carlos Tartiere San Tirso – Oviedo’s Oldest Church The University of Oviedo The Asturian Museum of Fine Arts Santa Cristina de Lena The Gothic Cloister of Oviedo’s Cathedral The Cámara Santa Inside the Cathedral of […]
Oviedo, the capital of Spain’s lush and mountainous Kingdom of Asturias, played host to us for three months — from August to the end of October, 2010. This was the first stop of our For 91 Days project, and we picked it for a mix of practical and personal reasons. We were already living in Spain, so the move wasn’t difficult, and we knew Spanish. But mainly, we chose Asturias based on the enthusiastic recommendations of our friends — this wild, beautiful land is largely unvisited by foreigners, and there was plenty to discover.
Oviedo may be the political center of the Principality of Asturias, but Covadonga is its spiritual heart. This mountain sanctuary near Cangas de Onís is where King Pelayo led a ragtag bunch of Christians to victory over a much larger Muslim force in the 8th century. It was Christianity’s first triumph since the Moorish conquest of Iberia, and marked the beginning of the 800-year Reconquista.
Jutting out into the Cantabrian sea, Cabo Peñas (the Cape of Rocks) is the most northern point in Asturias and an area of incredible natural beauty. We spent the day driving around the coast, from Luanco to the Lighthouse of San Juan de Nieva.
After admiring the relics in the Cámara Santa, visitors can continue their journey through the ancient wing of Oviedo’s Cathedral by ascending to the second floor into the Museum of Sacred Art. This museum opened in 1990, and is one of Asturias’ more important collections of religious iconography.