“Pre-Romanesque” is a confusing architectural term. The style didn’t appear until centuries after the Romans, so it’s not exactly pre-Roman at all. Instead, the term refers to buildings which pre-date the Romanesque architecture of medieval times, named so because of its rounded Roman arches.
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.
The villages of Tuñón and Entrago, found south of Oviedo, are connected by the Senda del Oso, a popular trail running through the valley carved by the Trubia River. Formerly a track for mining trains, the trail has been converted for recreational use and has a lot to recommend it: rapids, tunnels, cliffs, fountains, villages and, yes, bears.
Despite the overcast weather on Saturday, we decided to check out the evocatively named Playa del Silencio: the Beach of Silence. After a 40 minute drive from Oviedo, access to the beach can be found in the tiny village of Castañeras
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.
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.