The future Queen of Spain is a carbayón. The beautiful and glamorous Letizia, Princess of Asturias, was born in Oviedo in 1972 and married Prince Felipe in 2004. And when he ascends to the throne, she will become the first Spanish Queen who was born a commoner.
That’s right! Letizia’s just peeps like you and me. Before her fairytale engagement and marriage to Felipe, she was a heavyweight journalist, who reported live from places like Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks, and became the anchor of Spain’s most watched news program. Her tough journalistic chops won the Prince’s heart. Well that, and that she’s freaking hot. That probably played a part, too.
So, when she accompanied Prince Felipe to Oviedo for the Principe de Asturias Awardsi this year, it was a homecoming. I wonder if her old school chums bowed and addressed her by her full royal title: Her Royal Highness Doña Letizia, Princess of Asturias, Princess of Viana, Princess of Girona, Montblanc, Countess of Cervera and Lady of Balaguer. That’s a mouthful.
“God look, there’s Letizia… remember when we used to call her ‘Stinkyfoot’?”
“Shh! Here she comes!”
“Good evening, m’lady! All hail Her Royal Highness Doña Letizia, Princess of Ast… psst she gone yet?”
“Yes. She must really think she’s really something else.”
“All hail Princess Stinkyfoot!”
- Meet the Spanish Royal Family
October 23, 2010 at 8:33 pm Comments (0)
Though he was born in Galicia, Benito Jerónimo Feijóo spent the bulk of his life in Oviedo. One of Spain’s foremost enlightenment thinkers, the intellectual, religious and philosophical works of Feijóo had reverberations throughout the world. The Benedictine monk died in 1769 at the ripe old age of 89, and is buried in the Iglesia de Santa María de la Corte, near the plaza which bears his name.
Don’t ask me how to pronounce Feijóo, because I have no idea. I’ve been saying it like “FIGH-jew”, which is probably way off.
Feijóo was a professor at the University of Oviedo, most well known for his ideas challenging superstition and folklore. He was skeptical of anything of an otherworldly nature, such as exorcisms. He famously “cured” one possessed soul by reading aloud a comical romantic farce in Latin. The afflicted man didn’t understand what was being said, but leaped from his bed upon hearing the Latin words, miraculously free of the devil.
Feijóo held radical ideas for his day. He was a proponent of enlightened thinking, and his teachings challenged the more orthodox Catholic practices. King Charles III studied his essays, and would work the ideas of Enlightened Absolutism into his rule, guaranteeing better freedoms for his subjects. Feijóo is also known to have written one of the world’s first feminist tracts: “La defensa de las mujeres“, where he bravely argues for the equality of the sexes.
During San Mateo, the Plaza de Feijóo plays host to raucous rock concerts; somehow, I think that he would have liked that.
Location of the Plaza de Feijóo
- Castle Hotel Oviedo
October 16, 2010 at 7:08 pm Comments (2)
King of Asturias for 51 years, from 791 until his death in 842, Alfonso II el Casto had an impact on Oviedo that has barely diminished over the course of the centuries.
He moved the kingdom’s throne from Pravia to Oviedo, and built numerous churches in his new capital, including the Iglesia de San Tiro and the Cámara Santa. Renowned for his brave military victories against the Moors, particularly the history-changing conquest of Lisbon, Alfonso played an important role in re-settling the north of the Iberian peninsula for Christianity.
Ole Alfie was chaste during his reign. Nary a woman did he touch! So many centuries have passed that most knowledge about him comes from folklore but, by all accounts, he was an intensely sober and religous man who eschewed the pleasures of the flesh for those of the spirit. In fact, he was one of the very first pilgrims to travel to Santiago de Compostela, to visit the newly-discovered remains of Saint James the Greater. His unshakeable faith served as a model for the citizens of Oviedo, who to this day are more strongly religious than most of their countrymen.
Besides the regal statue found next to the cathedral, Oviedo has honored Alfonso’s memory by naming its most picturesque plaza after him.
Location on our Oviedo Map
- A visit to Vienna
August 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm Comments (5)