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.
For centuries, a massive oak tree stood in the heart of Oviedo. Known as El Carbayón, it was an important symbol of the city's identity.
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.
Oviedo is bounded on the north by Mount Naranco, which stretches over five kilometers in length and reaches 634 meters in altitude. 634 meters? Pfah, that's nothing... let's climb it!
A 22-acre park in the middle of the city, the Campo de San Francisco is Oviedo's green heart; a space of tranquility and relaxation much appreciated by residents.
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.
The largest market in Oviedo is found in the Plaza del Fontán, which has been home to the city's food merchants since the mid-16th century. In the middle ages, the plaza was still on the outskirts of the small city, and bordered a small lake filled by natural springs, which gave the plaza its name.
On the recommendation of one of our new Asturian Twitter friends, we chose Punto y Coma for our first big lunch in Oviedo. When we arrived at 14:30, the place was already packed and we were lucky to get a table.
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.
Just 300 steps from the Santa María del Naranco, we find its companion building: San Miguel de Lillo. Ramiro I built both in the same year, 848, for different purposes; Santa María as a recreational palace, and San Miguel as a church. Together, they make Oviedo's Naranco Hill one of the most important areas for Pre-Romanesque art in all of Europe.