The Museum of Mining and Industry in El Entrego

While we were in Oviedo, I found myself thinking a lot about mining for the first time in my life. The trapped Chilean miners were making headlines worldwide, a miner's strike was big news in Spain. But once I started considering the profession, I couldn't turn my mind off it. The vulgar exploitation of both workers and the earth for the further enrichment of corporations makes the mining industry the zenith of human greed and misery. There's something grotesquely romantic about it.

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Crime and Murder in Oviedo

Oviedo and the rest of Asturias enjoy a reputation as one of the safest, most crime-free sections of Spain, a country that is itself quite free of violence. In fact, Gijón and Oviedo recently ranked #2 and #3 respectively in a list of safest Spanish cities (#1 was Pamplona).

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San Mateo Has Arrived

Las Fiestas de San Mateo are the biggest event of the year in Oviedo, taking place over the course of nearly two weeks. Oviedo has celebrated the saint's feast day for over a millenium, since the days of Alfonso II in the 9th century.

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La Plaza de Daoíz y Velarde

The Plaza de Daoíz y Velarde is a quiet, tree-lined plaza which offers a respite from the noisy marketplace and cafés of the adjacent Plaza Fontán. Especially when bathed in the late afternoon sunlight, it's a beautiful place and home to the city library, a palace, a legendary fountain and, of course, a statue.

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The Gaita Asturiana

Until moving to Asturias, I shared the popular notion that bagpipes are from Scotland, and that the instrument's presence necessarily indicates Scottish influence. That turns out to be completely wrong. Bagpipes have a long history in all Europe, from the Balkans to Scandinavia, and definitely in Northern Spain. There's nothing uniquely Scottish about bagpipes; they weren't even invented there.

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