Saturday, July 24, 2010


A long delayed conclusion to my posts on the trip I did to Asturias earlier this year. The end point of the journey was the city of Gijón, following short stays in Oviedo and Avilés. Like Avilés, Gijon is a real place with an industrial past that has been faced with the job of reinventing itself as the industry has declined. In many ways it reminded me of La Coruña because of the way they have set about recovering land next to the sea that was previously used for industry or reserved for military use.

With two beaches the city doesn't live with its back to the sea and as long is the weather isn't too terrible it's a pleasant place to be. We were luckier in Gijón than I had been in Oviedo, with mild temperatures and just a couple of light showers. On the first day, and without at any time forgetting the real objectives of our mission, we had to go for a good walk along the seafront to work up an appetite for lunch. Not only did we get good views of the coast, but also of the mountains behind the city.

Nice to see a bit of civic education too, I'm thinking of putting one of these signs in the street where I live in Madrid.

For lunch we headed to the area around the Plaza Mayor where there are various sidrerias. At La Galana, in the square itself, we had an excellent lunch combining very well prepared fish and meat. Good enough for me to come back the following day because they do a value for money menu of the day, a bit more expensive than the average but worth it.

In the late afternoon we took a trip to Cabo de Peñas, which is the northernmost point of Asturias. We stayed until the sun went down behind the coastline and the mountains in the distance.

On day two I was left to my own devices with most of the day free before catching an evening train back to Madrid. I'm a creature of the land and I've never taken to the idea of scuba diving, so a visit to the city aquarium seemed like a good enough substitute for me. I prefer to have the sharks on the other side of a screen. In any case I was here on a Monday, "museums are all closed" day in much of Spain.

There was an outdoor option too, the tourist office offers an interesting guide to the old town, known as Cimavilla, which helps to find some of the surviving buildings that would be easy to miss without this information.

This part of town is dominated by the hill of Santa Catalina, which offers views in both directions along the coast as well as over much of the city. The hill is crowned by the Eduardo Chillida sculpture "Elogio del horizonte".

Down at the end of this route you come to the statue of Don Pelayo, the first king of Asturias. This was the end of my trip, I've been in Asturias a few times for walking in the last few years but this was the first time I'd come just to be in the cities. It was well worth it, and I'm not just saying that because of the food. And the cider.


ejh said...

Cam I take this opportunity to say how bloody useless Sporting's website is if you're trying to find any useful information, like where exactly the ground is? Not that it's unusual for a Spanish football club website in that respect - they all seem to operate on the principle that if you're interested, you must be a local and therefore know the answers already.

Graeme said...

There are some teams who would do us all a favour by keeping their location secret.