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Villaviciosa – Capital of the Cider Region

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Welcome to Villaviciosa, the Vicious Village, where nightmares are reality and your screaming only makes the villagers thirstier for blood!

Puking Baby

Man, was I disappointed to learn that Villaviciosa’s name actually translates to “Fertile Valley”. Vicious Village would be so much cooler! The capital of the Comarca de la Sidra, Villaviciosa’s fertile valleys (sigh) make it the biggest cider-producer in Spain. We visited out the city after our tour the Sidrería El Gaitero.

Villaviciosa is not big, but definitely has its share of small-town charms. There’s a quiet plaza with a statue dedicated to apples, and we ventured inside the Santa María de la Oliva, a beautifully preserved church from the 13th century. There was a mass going on, and after the churchgoers gave us sufficiently annoyed glares, we left them alone, and went to find food at one of the many local sidrerías.

Combined with our visit to the Gaitero factory, this was a full day, and we left without exploring the surrounding area. In addition to the town, Villaviciosa’s beaches are supposed to be really lovely.

Location of Villaviciosa on our Day Trips Map

Apple Statue
Gaita Villaviciosa
Musica Villaviciosa
Villaviciosa Santa Maria
Villaviciosa Cathedral
Iglesia Villaviciosa
Wild Pig Villaviciosa
No Heads
Men Only
Happy Spanish Opa
Romantic Villviciosa
Seerose
Self Golden Shower
Cider Region Spain
Ayuntamiento Villaviciosa
Misty Villaviciosa
ciudad Sidra
Cute Villaviciosa
Artist Villaviciosa
Oldtimer Villaviciosa
upside down sign
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September 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm Comments (2)

Day Trip to Gijón

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Everything I’d read about Gijón, the largest city in Asturias, described it as “industrial” or “working-class”, so we arrived fearing that it’d be boring. But we needn’t have worried: Gijón is beautiful, full of students, lively bars and charming plazas. We spent the day walking around the old town center, the Cimavilla, admiriing monuments, plazas and incredible old buildings. The weather was great and the streets were full with young people sitting on whatever piece of stone was available.

Playa San Lorenzo

In the middle of the city is the beach of San Lorenzo, which stretches along the coast for over a kilometer. Though a lot of people were swimming, I wasn’t about to join in after experiencing the ice cold water at the Playa del Silencio. We also walked around the docks on the other side of Cimavilla and grabbed a bottle of cider in one of the city’s many sidrerías.

Gijón is much bigger than Oviedo, and the few hours we spent there during our first visit weren’t nearly enough to conduct a thorough exploration of its streets. No bother. It’s just 30 minutes by train from Oviedo, and we returned often. This is the kind of city which needs to be discovered slowly. On subsequent visits, we discovered the Park of Santa Catalina, a beautiful green area at the top of the city with a famous sculpture called “Elogio del Horizonte”, and the Termas Romanas, Thermal Baths built in the 1st Century by the Romans.

Location on our Asturias Map

Lady Stoner
Kiosk People
Fontan Out of Control
Calle Leon Gijon
Passaje Gijon
Pharmacia Gijon
Bar Carmen Gijon
Jesus on a Roof
Christus Gijon
Architecture Gijon
shadow beach
Snow on the beach
Beach Summer Gijon
Beach San Lorenzo
Abstract Beach
Castle on the beach
Asturian Mansion
Asturian Curtains
Beach Cross
Gijon Cathedral
Cathedral Gijon
Sailing Club Gijon
Plaza Gijon
Urban Art Gijon
Where did the Sidra Go
Sidra Gijon
Tostas Gijon
Sunny Alley Gijon
Snow in Gijon
Sailing in Gijon
Bubble Balls Gijon
Nordeste Gijon
Making out in Gijon
Boat in Wall Gijon
Sunning Gijon
Cute Bar Gijon
Gijon Face
Fury Coat Spain
Holy Sailor
Gijon For Lovers
Casa Fernando Gijon
Palace Gijon
villa hill gijon
Hungry for Pigeon
Souvenirs Gijon
Sac Player Asturias

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August 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm Comments (13)

First-Time Cider: Learning about El Escanciado

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Cider (sidra) is a way of life in Asturias. Asturians drink cider at all times of the day, wherever they are. On the beach, in their houses, with lunch, with dinner and probably breakfast, before going to bed, when they’re happy, sad or bored. Sidrerías blanket Oviedo, particularly on Calle Gascona, otherwise known as the Boulevard of Cider.

Despite having the energy level of celery on our first full day in Oviedo, we couldn’t resist sampling it. We sat down at a sidrería close to our house, and ordered a bottle. As soon as it was set down on the table, I greedily reached for it, but the waiter snatched the bottle deftly away from my grabby hands, tut-tutting as he did so. And then, he provided our first lesson in the art of El Escanciado.

Drinking cider is not as easy as cracking open a beer. Made from apples, it’s a completely natural beverage and bottled without any gas. So the cider must be poured from a height, aerating it as it splashes into the glass. Our waiter held the bottle high over his head, and the glass down at waist level. Without looking at either bottle or glass, he started pouring, splashing a ton of cider onto the ground, and then pushed the glasses into our hands instead of setting them onto the table. The cider was delicious, with an unexpectedly tangy punch. The glasses were only filled the glass to an inch, so we were ready for more in about two seconds. But we had quickly picked up that pouring your own cider is improper ettiquite, so we had to wait until he came back around to our table to perform the ritual again.

The slow drinking is conducive to a long evening out with friends, and the small portions and low alcohol content would make it difficult to get drunk on cider. Plus, it’s cheap (we paid €2,50 per bottle), so there’s no need to worry about ordering another round.

Yep, I think that we’ll be sampling a good percentage of Oviedo’s sidrerías during our time here. And we’ll have to get practicing on our Escanciado skills right away.

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August 1, 2010 at 12:53 pm Comments (8)
Villaviciosa - Capital of the Cider Region Welcome to Villaviciosa, the Vicious Village, where nightmares are reality and your screaming only makes the villagers thirstier for blood!
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