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Asturian Bookstore Paraxuga

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Figures I’d discover this bookstore days before we leave! Filled with books about Asturias, trinkets, a couple tables for tea and esoteric tomes, Paraxuga is a super-cute little bookshop on Calle Paraíso.

Paraxuga Oviedo Tienda

Way back in August, during our first couple weeks in Oviedo, I thought I had scoured all the bookstores the city had to offer. I was mostly interested in books about Asturias. Novels, history, hiking routes, city guides, stuff like that. All the stores tended to have the same books, so I eventually just bought a couple and called it a day.

But although it’s smaller, Paraxuga has an incredible selection of Asturias-specific books, and is a neat place to spend some time. Man, I was kicking myself for not having discovered this shop earlier. They also have books about mystical things like witchcraft and tarot, if that’s your bag.

Though it’s close to downtown, Calle Paraíso isn’t a street tourists often go down. But if you’re looking for books about the province, make a beeline for Paraxuga.

Location on our Oviedo Map
Official Website

Andenken Oviedo
Buchladen Oviedo
Asturias Souvenirs

Spain Bargain Site

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October 23, 2010 at 8:20 pm Comment (1)

The Regenta, by Clarín

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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
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October 21, 2010 at 5:20 pm Comment (1)

The University of Oviedo

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Established in 1574, the University of Oviedo has been an important part of the city for centuries. Its founder was the Archibishop Fernando de Valdés Salas, an inquisitive chap whom we earlier profiled. Oviedo’s is the only public university in Asturias, and currently educates more than 25,000 students.

Lamap Biblioteca Oviedo

We took a tour of the original university hall, which is now used for exhibits, cultural events and special ceremonies. Set around a perfectly square courtyard, the lovely building includes a chapel, auditorium, classrooms and an impressive library.

The University chugged along through the Ages of Reason and Enlightenment, and into Modernity, until the Miner’s Strike of 1934, when it was nearly destroyed by workers who saw it as a symbol of the privileged bourgeois. The destruction was completed shortly thereafter, during the Civil War, and teaching came to a complete halt. It remained closed for years, and evidence of warfare is even today visible in the holes and scars of the building’s walls.

The 45-minute long tour was interesting throughout, especially when demonstrating how tightly connected to religion the Spanish education system used to be. Today, classes take place in the modern University buildings of the neighborhood of El Cristo, as well as on campuses in Gijón and Mieres.

Location on our Oviedo Map
More Information about the History of the University

Archibishop Fernando Oviedo
Uni Sigel Oviedo
University Bells
Oviedo University
Miner Strike War
Spain Traces of War
Lady Full of Wonders
Like a Painting Oviedo
School Curtain
I heart school
Oviedo University Tour
Philipus Oviedo
Fluffy Hat
University Hallway
Biblioteca Oviedo
Buechrei Oviedo
Spain Library Stairs
Oviedo Biblioteca

Camiseta Oviedo

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September 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm Comments (2)
Asturian Bookstore Paraxuga Figures I'd discover this bookstore days before we leave! Filled with books about Asturias, trinkets, a couple tables for tea and esoteric tomes, Paraxuga is a super-cute little bookshop on Calle Paraso.
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