Found near the historic seat of the University of Oviedo, the Plaza del Riego is a small, triangular shaped plaza in the center of the city, which buzzes with activity from morning until evening, when its outdoor terraces are consistently packed.
Columbian artist Fernando Botero has an instantly recognizable style. Plumpness, I suppose it could be called. Plump animals, plump objects, plump prisoners and, above all, plump women.
The capital of Asturias is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, and a walk through its streets reveals Oviedo's 1000-year history, as much as the vibrant, contemporary place it is today. The ancient Pre-Romanesque churches and Baroque palaces are stunning, but we had just as much pleasure photographing the more modern buildings.
It didn't take much time for us to develop an appreciation for cider, the favorite drink of Asturias. In the few weeks, we put down a fair share of bottles and improved at escanciando: the tricky art of pouring cider. So, it was soon time to visit a sidrería and see how the drink is produced.
In the bird's eye view of Oviedo acheivable from the top of Mount Naranco, one building sticks out more than any other. Massive and gleaming white, with an otherworldly design, the Palacio de Congresos is unmistakable.
Asturianu is the indigenous language of Asturias, though there aren't many people who speak it anymore. And Pixuetu is a dialect of Asturianu spoken only in Cudillero, a tiny village on the Cantabrian coast, distinuished by its use of Nordic words. Its no wonder that parents around the world are in a rush to teach their children Pixueto, since it's totally going to be the next Chinese.
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.
As we settle into our new home, different facets of life in Oviedo begin to emerge. The city is monumental, but surrounded by the most striking nature. And people seem to be happy, affluent and comfortable here. Yes, we realized early on that three months in Oviedo wouldn't be a struggle.
Originally constructed in 848, the Santa María del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo are Oviedo's most important Pre-Romanesque structures.
Once in awhile we'll be posting a random set of photos, which don't easily fit into other posts, but are too good to ignore! These are all from our first week in Oviedo, and reveal some of my initial impressions.
The drive from Valencia to Oviedo is a long one, so it's lucky that the Spanish countryside is so beautiful. We needed seven hours to reach Salamanca, where we grabbed a beer in the massive Plaza Mayor, and spent the night. Before leaving the next morning, we had time to explore the cathedral, which must be the only church in the world that has a space-walking astronaut sculpted into its facade.