Oviedo Map
Site Index
Contact
Random
Our Travel Books
Advertising / Press

The Regenta, by Clarín

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

In 1884, Leopold Alas, better known by his pen name of Clarín, wrote a massive novel which would eventually be regarded as one of the 19th century’s best. La Regenta is a fictional account of the life and loves of Ana Ozores, a noblewoman who marries a man far older than herself, but allows herself to be pursued by two other suitors: the town’s resident heartthrob and a priest. Scandal!

La Regenta

The novel is set in an Oviedo superficially disguised as “Vetusta” and, with a rich ensemble set of eccentric secondary characters, wickedly satirizes Spanish society. In the well-stocked bookshelves of the apartment in which we’re staying, I discovered a copy of La Regenta, and immediately declared, “Yes! I shall read this!”.

These plans lasted until I felt the heft of the book, 9,183,433 pages thick, and opened to the first page of fine-print 19th century Spanish prose. “On second thought”, I considered, removing my smoking robe, lowering my reading glasses and substituting my brandy for a beer, “Dude Where’s My Car is on TV tonight. I can get to La Regenta later.”

The novel has had a huge influence on Oviedo, where approximately half the hotels and restaurants use the name “Vetusta”. And Clarín’s likeness is all over the place, on murals and statues. La Regenta herself claims the best spot in the city, right in front of the cathedral. Her statue must be among the most-photographed in Spain.

Despite its wide-reaching influence and universal praise, La Regenta is difficult to find in English. I don’t want to tell Oviedo’s booksellers how to run their businesses, but here’s some unsolicited advice: stock La Regenta in English! If there’s a classic book which has partially defined a city, tourists to that city will often want to read the book. Trust me.

Order La Regenta here: USA, UK, Germany

Location of La Regenta on our Oviedo Map

Vetusta
Regenta Oviedo
Regenta Clarin
Oviedo at Night
, , ,
October 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm Comment (1)

Tierra Astur Restaurant

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

The first time we sat down at Tierra Astur, a sidrería at the very top of the “Boulevard of Cider”, it was just for drinks. But it was dinnertime and we watched with growing despondency as plate after plate of mouthwatering Asturian food was delivered to other tables. By the time we left, my stomach was growling like an angry Rottweiler. “Calm yourself, friend”, I whispered soothingly, “Soon we shall return and a succulent feast shall be your reward!”

Asturian Food

Return we did, the very next day. Previously, I’d been skeptical about Tierra Astur because the restaurant also contains a shop selling goods, souvenirs and foodstuffs. Rule #2934 of my personal life-guide clearly states that “Restaurant/Shops Are of Dubious Quality (See: Cracker Barrel)”. But our experience at Tierra Astur has caused me to question the wisdom of that rule.

We got a place on the terrace, with the warm October sun at our backs, and hungrily awaited our meal. It was as delicious as we’d hoped. We started with corn tortillas and then shared ox medallions covered in a rich cabrales sauce. Reading the menu was nearly as fun as eating the things found on it. Tierra Astur is dedicated to promoting Asturian foods, and the menu went into great detail on all the different plates and ingredients.

Dessert was frixuelos, which are like slightly-thicker crepes filled with delicious sauces, from apple to chocolate. And the prices were more reasonable than we had dared hope. During the week, they have a very reasonable lunch menu and the regular-priced dishes aren’t bad either, especially considering their size. We left full, happy and satisfied.

Location of Tierra Astur

Link to their site: Tierra Astur

Restaurante Oviedo
Terra Asturias
Maiz Asturias
Terra Astur
frixuelos
, , , , ,
October 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm Comment (1)

The Ruta del Cares: Seven-Hour Megahike

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

The Picos de Europa are a huge mountain range that straddles the border between Asturias, Cantabria and León, just twenty kilometers from the ocean, and a paradise for mountain climbers, nature lovers and hikers.

Sun Hike

Juergen and I fall into that latter group for sure, so we embarked on the most famous hike through the Picos: The Ruta del Cares. Connecting the tiny villages of Poncebos and Caín, it’s a 24km, seven-hour roundtrip hike. That’s a lot, but the seven hours are packed with breathtaking nature, and fairly easy.

The river Cares has carved an immense and exhilaratingly narrow canyon into the Picos. The route travels alongside the river, high up into the mountains, through tunnels and along cliff faces. It was developed in the early 20th century for workers of the Electra de Viesgo company, who needed to reach the canal which still runs between the two villages. The hike has since become incredibly popular, and welcomes over 200,000 adventurers a year.

The Ruta del Cares starts with a long ascent, and before long we were high above the river. It leveled out from there, as we entered the canyon. I experienced some mild vertigo. In such a narrow canyon gap with sheer cliff faces towering high over your head and the river so far below, it’s easy to become disoriented.

There were long stretches through dark tunnels, over bridges high above the river, and we passed by a few waterfalls. By the time we reached Caín, we were exhausted but in great spirits. The first half of the hike had gone quickly by and, after a quick lunch, I didn’t dread the thought of returning the same way. The chance to see the canyon again was a powerful incentive.

If you’re fit enough and enjoy the outdoors, don’t miss this hike. But try and pick an off-season day during the week, as the route is truly popular and, on summer weekends, the number of people can be overwhelming.

Location of Poncebos (Start)
Plan of the Hike in Wikiloc
Detailed Info in Spanish on the Hike

Mist Land
Rio Asturias
Rio Picos de Europa
Picos de Europa Hike
Ruta del Cares
No Bikers Allowed
Dizzy
Dangerous Hike
Gefahr Wandern
Hiking Routes Picos
Fall Asturias
Exciting Hike
China in Spain
Hiking
Tunnel Hiking Asturias
Welcome to Leon
Waterfall
Wandern Asturias
On Nom Nom
Wet Land
Wet
Splish Splash
Sidra IN leon
Wandern
Picos de Europa
Play of Light
Travel Stock Photographer
, , , , ,
October 20, 2010 at 8:39 pm Comments (6)

Colombres and the Museum of Emigration

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Looking for a place to stay new Colombres?

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.

Colombres Asturias

Many of these newly moneyed youngsters eventually returned home. Known as Indianos, they built fabulous homes and spent their wealth freely, at a time when the Principality desperately needed it. The mansions of the Indianos can be found all over Asturias, but no other town has such a remarkable collection as Colombres, near the border with Cantabria.

One house in Colombres stands out among the rest: the Quinta Guadalupe, constructed by Iñigo Noriega Laso, who emigrated to Mexico and became both extremely rich and politically influential. Today, his amazing mansion is the Museum of Emigration, dedicated to this interesting period in Asturian history. There are emotional photographs of emigrants leaving Spain, models of the boats on which they traveled, personal stories of adventure and danger, and information about the various Centros Asturianos which are still active in Argentina, Cuba, Mexico and the USA.

The museum is interesting, and it’s nice to be able to step inside such a house. Much of the original furniture is still present, and the library is full of tomes dedicated to the immigrant experience. If you’re in the area, definitely stop by.

Location of Colombres on our Day Trips Map

Magnolia Sprout
Water Drip
Bizarre Garden
Quinta Guadalupe
Mexico Asturias
Emmigration Museum
Museo Emmigracion
Detail Asturias
Muebles Asturias
emmigration asturias
Eduardo Urculo New York
Williams B. Arrensberg
Inka
Asturiano Dinero

Visit Stockholm

, , , ,
October 20, 2010 at 3:14 pm Comment (1)

The Bizarre Beach of Gulpiyuri

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

The coast around Llanes is well-known as one of the most stunning areas in Spain, and during a recent trip there, we sought out one of the features which makes it special: Gulpiyuri beach.

Gulpiyuri

Gulpiyuri’s name isn’t its only bizarre facet: this beach is found completely inland, in a gorgeous little cove which looks like something out of a fantasy. I kept expecting to see Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields rolling around on the sand, making out. The Cantabrian Sea bored through the earth to create this sandy spot, and though you can’t see the ocean, its waves to lap the shore just like any beach. Like a magical wave pool.

We sat here for a half hour, taking in the cove’s beauty and eating bocadillos. Our dog Chucky came along for this road trip, and though Gulpiyuri’s odd allure was probably lost on her, she seemed to enjoy the sand.

Location of Gulpiyuri Beach on our Day Trips Map

Inland Beach
Weird Beach
French Bulldog
, , , ,
October 20, 2010 at 12:44 pm Comments (12)

Finally, We Visit Llanes

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

During our three months in Asturias, we’ve seen a lot of wonderful towns. Just check out our Day Trips Map! But none of them have impressed us as much as Llanes, an absolutely gorgeous city in the east of the Principality. A perfect melding of tradition and modernity, Llanes is full of beautifully restored buildings, and boasts an expansive ancient center separated from the day-to-day village life by medieval walls.

Llanes Cubes

Walking around the streets of Llanes was a treat; practically every building screamed for attention, and each narrow alley seemed to be showing off. Even the town’s tourist office is a highlight, inside a small circular tower along the old city wall. The people we encountered were friendly, and despite the rainy weather, everyone was in good spirits, tourists and locals alike.

And there were a lot of tourists. Llanes is a popular vacation destination and in the summer, the population quintuples up to 20,000. Tourists (mostly Spanish) choose Llanes for its beaches, the plentiful surrounding sights, the proximity of the Picos de Europa and of course the beauty and excellent reputation of the town itself.

We spent a long time admiring ancient palaces like the 14th century Palacio de Gastañaga, and modern structures such as the Casino de los Indiano, which is today the city hall. Perhaps most impressive was the San Pedro Walk, a long and entirely green park which stretches endlessly along the coast, offering tremendous views of both the ocean and the town.

This was one of the last excursions from Oviedo which we embarked on. We shouldn’t have waited so long.

Location of Llanes on our Day Trips Map

Igleasia en Llanes
llanes Puerta
Llanes Iglesia
Melted Architecture
Llanes Asturias
Llanes Bush
Llanes Flores
Llanes Oldtown
Llanes Alley
Llanes Architecture
Llanes Construction
Llanes Bebe
Casino Llanes
Tourist Office Llanes
Llanes Faro
Llanes Pop Art
Fishing Net
Redes Llanes
Splash Boat
Boats Llanes
Llanes Beach
Llanes Playa
Walking Llanes
San Pedro Llanes
Sexy Curves
Cliffs Llanes
Llanes Rain
Llanisco
, , , , ,
October 19, 2010 at 7:16 pm Comments (0)

Hotel de la Reconquista

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Oviedo’s most famous and luxurious hotel was built over 250 years ago as an orphanage and hospital for the city. But the altruism has long since faded, and the huge building has gone from caring for the city’s most poor and downtrodden, to catering to the rich and famous.

Luxury Hotel Asturias

If a well-known actor or foreign dignitary is visiting Oviedo, it’s even money that they’re staying in the Hotel de la Reconquista, the most exclusive 5-star joint in the city. The hotel serves as the seat for the Prince of Asturias Awards, when Oviedo is invaded by Spain’s most famous intellects, scientists, athletes and royalty.

As you’d expect, the Reconquista is gorgeous. Most striking is the massive coat of arms in the center of the facade. There are a couple impressive interior patios, such as the 900 square meter Patio de la Reina, where evening cocktails are served.

The price aren’t really as terrifying as might be expected, starting from about €145 for a double room. But if you’re a classy gentlemen, for whom only the fanciest rooms possible will do, you might want to look at the Suite Real, at just over €1500 per night. Come on, you can afford it, can’t you? Look at you, fancy man, of course you can!

Book your stay here: Hotel de la Reconquista

Location on our Asturias Hotel Map

Reconquista Oviedo
Hotel de la Reconquista
, , , , ,
October 19, 2010 at 2:54 pm Comment (1)

Road Trip Across Western Asturias

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Time was running out! With just over one week left in Asturias, we looked at the map and realized we hadn’t explored the Principality’s western half at all. Time for a road trip.

Jungle Spain

We headed out from Oviedo, through Grado, Pola de Allende, Grandas de Salime, Villanueva de Oscos and into Taramundi. It was an unforgettable trip, through forests, over hydroelectric dams, across mountain passes and into the least inhabited areas of Asturias. For long stretches, we drove without seeing another soul, save the random hunter. The roads were empty and well-maintained, which made driving an absolute pleasure.

The only extended stop we made was for lunch in Taramundi. Unfortunately, in the Hotel Taramundi we suffered through the worst meal we had during our three months in Asturias. I choked my way through a steak so raw, it must have been cooked over match light. I swear it mooed when I cut into it. I’m all for rare and bloody, but this was ridiculous. The other plate was awful too, runny eggs and the nastiest chorizo to ever bear the name.

Overall, we thought Taramundi was cute, but it’s a town clearly designed to ensnare tourists, lacking any sense of authenticity. It’s famed for its knives (navajas), so we bought one and spent the rest of the day slicing things. We were done with Taramundi after about ten minutes, and drove to the nearby village of Os Teixos. Here, they’ve shut down thoroughfare, so you have to park outside the town and walk in. Also, you have to pay an entrance fee! Os Teixos has converted itself into an open air museum dedicated to water mills.

We loved our day driving through Western Asturias, and were particularly impressed by both the hydroelectric dam near Grandas de Salime and the Puerto del Palo, which offered incredible views from 1146 meters above sea level.

If you’re curious, the route we took was the following:
From Oviedo, N634 West
About 11km after Grado, AS15 South
Shortly after a village called Tebongo, AS14 West
In Grandas de Salime, AS12 North
In Pesoz, AS13 West/North, becomes AS11 after the Puerta de la Garganta
About 10 km later, AS26 towards Taramundi

This took about three hours. We headed back to Oviedo along the much faster coastal Cantabrian Highway.

Lost Cloud
Mountain Street
West Asturias
Dam Spain
Cement Mirador
Electronic Mirador
Wild Wild West Spain
Water Towers
Grandas de Salime
Electricity Spain
Roadtrip Spain
Wind Mills Spain
Electronic Workers
Taramundi Spain
Taramundi
hombre Taramundi
Cruz Asturias
Maiz
Manzanas
Spanish Wood
Teixois Uvas
Navajas Taramundi
Schiefer
Teixois
Mills Taramundi
null
Os Teixois
Water Mill
Optical Illusion Asturias
Electricity Toixois
Drums of Spain
, , , , , ,
October 19, 2010 at 12:26 pm Comments (0)

White Dragon in Oviedo – Photos from Asturias

Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Like any great city, Oviedo is full of gorgeous detail, unexpected sights and humorous juxtapositions. The hardest part of a photographer’s job here is deciding between the incredible picture opportunities!

White Dragon
Wedding Oviedo
LED Gijon
Gijon Bus
Zona Fumadores
Sidra Bucket
Sidraria
Sidra Mining
Pinchos Asturas
Sidra Elf
Rain Asturias
drip Spain
Camino de Santiago
Bear Bike
Relaxed Dog
Stomach
Weird Bird Oviedo
Scream Oviedo
Oviedo Showing Leg
Bar Gijon
Dead Architecture
Praying for the Dead
Fly Bird Statue
Oviedo Center
Trash Shopping
Not Calatrava
Industria Asturias
, , ,
October 18, 2010 at 7:37 pm Comments (0)

The Fountain of the Foncalada

Add to Flipboard Magazine.
“With this sign the pious are protected, With this sign you shall defeat the enemy”
Fontan Foncalada

This is the inscription engraved upon the Foncalada: a fountain near the city center, and the only remaining civil service structure in Asturias still standing from the Middle Ages. It was constructed in the 9th Century at the behest of King Alfonso III, and features the Victory Cross above the inscription.

In 2008, the Foncalada was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. That the fountain still works is remarkable in and of itself. We walked by about 50 times without ever descending the stairs to check it out. Don’t make that mistake: the Foncalada takes about 10 seconds to see, and is definitely worth a picture.

Location of the Fuente de Foncalada

Cruz Asturias
Foncalada
Fontan Asturias
Middle Ages Oviedo

Oviedo Shirt

, , ,
October 18, 2010 at 4:17 pm Comments (0)

« Older PostsNewer Posts »

The Regenta, by Clarn In 1884, Leopold Alas, better known by his pen name of Clarn, wrote a massive novel which would eventually be regarded as one of the 19th century's best. La Regenta is a fictional account of the life and loves of Ana Ozores, a noblewoman who marries a man far older than herself, but allows herself to be pursued by two other suitors: the town's resident heartthrob and a priest. Scandal!
For 91 Days