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Adiós, San Mateo

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San Mateo 2010

The biggest festival of the year in Oviedo came to a close yesterday, on September 21st. For eleven days, the city had seen its streets converted into a massive carnival. To be honest, we felt a little relieved it was finally over.

Related San Mateo posts on our blog:

  • San Mateo Has Arrived
  • The 60th Day of America
  • Fireworks for San Mateo
  • Check out this final batch of pictures from the fiesta. Crazy times.

    San Mateo Lights
    Selling Balloons
    Sex in the Streets
    San Mateo
    Festival Oviedo
    Jazz San Mateo
    Oviedo Jazz
    San Mateo Concert
    El Bicho
    Clean Oviedo

    Best Rental Car Prices Spain

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    September 22, 2010 at 7:54 pm Comment (1)

    Fireworks for San Mateo

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    Last night, Oviedo invited the pyrotechnic company to light up the Parque de Invierno with fireworks. The Valencian company also did the closing of the World Cup, and we are already well familiar with their incredible work from our time in Valencia.

    San Mateo

    It was a great night for fireworks, and the show didn’t disappoint. We found a spot on the side of a steep hill, and watched a display that seemed to go on forever. Something Valencians understand about fireworks, is that noise can be just as important as visuals, and the rhythmic, perfectly timed sounds were almost as impressive as the explosions themselves.

    San Mateo is winding down! Today’s a holiday, and then it’s all over…

    Book your Hotel for San Mateo

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    September 21, 2010 at 11:19 am Comments (0)

    The 60th Day of America

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    One of the biggest days of San Mateo is September 19th, the Día de América, when Oviedo celebrates its relationship with the New World. The immigrants who’ve moved to Spain, Asturians who went abroad, and the mixture of cultures are all represented in a big parade that shuts down the city.

    60 Dia de America

    We had the chance to see the 60th annual parade. It was a lively affair, featuring both the traditional music of Asturian bagpipes and flutes, and the more buoyant rhythms of the Caribbean and Latin America. There were about twenty floats, each with a different theme, from life at Catholic missions abroad, to scantily clad Caribbean beauties jiggling their lady parts.

    The weather was perfect and the both the spectators and participants clearly had a lot of fun, except for the guy in front of us who got a face-full of foam. Definitely one of the most colorful days of the year in Oviedo.

    Spanish Spectators
    Hot Air Balloon Asturias
    Mexican Dudes
    Parade Oviedo
    Pawned at San Mateo
    Happy Kids
    White Party Oviedo
    Asturian Fairy Tail
    Elf Asturias
    Asturian Bruja
    Face of Asturias
    Dia de America
    WTF Clown
    Disney Parade Spain
    Asturian Greeting
    Snow Priest
    Knight Asturias
    Asturian Explorer
    Quasi Modo
    Asturias Dragon
    Sexy Samba
    Sexy Girls Oviedo
    Carneval Rio Oviedo
    Hunky Stud Oviedo
    Bomberos Oviedo
    Golden Eagle Oviedo
    Peru Spain
    Butterfly Queen
    Blacksmith Oviedo
    Sexy Man Socks
    Bag Pipes
    Face Of Oviedo
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    September 20, 2010 at 12:14 pm Comments (5)

    San Mateo Has Arrived

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    Las Fiestas de San Mateo are the biggest event of the year in Oviedo, taking place over the course of nearly two weeks. Oviedo has celebrated the saint’s feast day for over a millenium, since the days of Alfonso II in the 9th century.

    San Mateo

    What exactly comprises the festival of San Mateo? It’s a question which we’ve been posing to everyone we meet, and which no one is able to satisfactorily answer. There’s the Día de América on the 19th, which is a parade to honor the cultures and people of the New World. And there are fireworks on the 21st, the día grande of the festival. But concentrating on individual events isn’t the best way to think about San Mateo. Basically, the whole city becomes a huge party zone. San Mateo is simply a monstrously long fiesta.

    In every plaza of the old town, on every corner and along every street, open air bars sell caipirinhas and mojitos. Every night, there are jazz concerts in the Plaza de Paraguas, rock concerts in the Plaza Feijoo, and big performances of theater, comedy, music and more in the Plaza de la Catedral. Makeshift party tents called chiringuitos are set up all over the place, disturbing neighbors with dancing that lasts until 4am. The city park, the Campo de San Francisco, converts into a massive kids’ playground. Everyone goes out, and the streets are packed with both young and old people having a good time.

    Though there’s not much to distinguish San Mateo from other festivals around the world, it’s one of the few times in the year when noble Oviedo lets its hair loose, and reveals an exuberant side to the city normally kept under wraps.

    La Banda Oviedo
    Sidra Heads
    Los Morancos
    San Mateo 2010
    Bocadillos Oviedo
    San Mateo Oviedo
    San Mateo Asturias
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    September 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm Comments (7)

    September 8th, The Day of Asturias

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    We always have a hard time remembering the holidays of new countries and on September 8th, another one sneaked up and took us off guard. The Day of Asturias, which celebrates the Principality’s patron saint, The Virgin of Covadonga.


    The virgin’s legend dates back to the 8th century and the Battle of Covadonga, when a ragtag group of Asturians beat back a much larger invading Muslim army. That battle, waged so many centuries ago, has become the subject of legend, but scholars agree that it was the first major victory against the ruling Moors, and allowed the Kingdom of Asturias to establish itself as a Christian stronghold.

    Covadonga has become a mythical place for Asturians, and September 8th is the day they most proudly celebrate their history and culture. Every year, a different Asturian city is chosen to host the festivities; this year, the traditional markets, fairs, contests and parades were set in Ribadesella. In Oviedo, the only events were a performance by the Gaita band Xácara in the city center, and fireworks on the 7th.

    That’s it, I’m paying better attention from now on to holidays. October 12th, the Day of Spain, I have my eye on you!

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    September 8, 2010 at 10:01 am Comments (3)

    El Descenso del Sella

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    Book a hotel for this event (in Ribadesella)

    Entering 80 years of history, the International Descenso del Sella has become one of the most important events on the Asturian calendar. Over 300,000 people showed up to watch this year’s canoe and kayak race and participate in a week full of parties.

    Of course, we had to go, especially since the train ride cost just €10. We stayed on the train through Arriondas, where the race starts, and followed the river twenty kilometers to its end in seaside Ribadesella. All along the route, we looked out the window at campsites and drunk, sunburnt party people. At the Arriondas stop, a group of hilariously hung-over teenagers boarded and all instantly, simultaneously fell asleep. Watching the increasingly frustrated ticket-checker try futiley to rouse them was great fun.

    We managed to claim great spots along the riverbed to watch end of the race. The athletes, mostly muscle-bound Spaniards, rowed swiftly past the finish line and it was all over far too quickly. But the race is really just an excuse for the week-long party that grips the region. Music, festival rides, food stands and above all, alcohol. Cider, beer, vomit, whiskey, dancing, vodka, public urination, followed by more vodka and vomit. The Descenso del Sella simply must be the coolest canoe race in the world.

    Location on our Asturias Map

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    August 9, 2010 at 11:59 am Comments (2)
    Adis, San Mateo The biggest festival of the year in Oviedo came to a close yesterday, on September 21st. For eleven days, the city had seen its streets converted into a massive carnival. To be honest, we felt a little relieved it was finally over.
    For 91 Days