We had talked about visiting Asturias in Northern Spain for quite sometime but had never really had a chance. You see Bert used to travel to Asturias for work and had always promised to take me, but for one reason or another, I was never able to accompany him on those trips. Fast forward to August 2018, a couple years since his retirement and we finally begin planning this long awaited trip.
Thanks to a very dear friend and colleague of Bert’s, we were able to see so much of this area known as “Green Spain”. Laudelina, a native of Asturias showed us around the many fishing villages that dot the rugged coastline of Asturias. A google search produced this map which will give you some idea where we were. As you can see, it’s right on the coast, the blue you see above is the Bay of Biscay.
We took a flight to Madrid and could have connected with a local carrier on arrival, but instead we decided to take a 5 hour train journey to our destination Gijon, just so that we could relax and take in the beauty along the way. On arrival in Gijon, we were pretty pleased with the location of our Airbnb. It was walking distance to the beach, the rugged coastline, the harbor, the beautiful boutiques, the charming outdoor cafes and just about everything one needed for a week’s stay.
Gijon is the largest coastal city in Northern Spain. Loved the narrow alleys, the red tiled rooftops, the cobbled stones, the cafes that spill out onto the streets and the general vibe and feeling of “there’s no tomorrow, let’s enjoy the moment”. I find a lot of the European countries are pretty much that way.
The historic city of Gijon is a superb destination for those who want to combine culture, beach and nature. With its combination of beaches, mountains, stunning landscapes and an active night life, this vacation should cover it all. After venturing to other places of interest during the daytime, it was always great to come back to our Airbnb and take in the night life which literally goes on till the wee hours (probably 4-5am). No, we did not make it to the wee hours 🙂
Assumption Day is a public holiday in Spain and a major religious festival across the country. We were fortunate to see how they celebrate this special holiday. The night before hundreds gathered on the seafront promenade to watch the fireworks at midnight. Spaniards are a passionate and animated race, they are also warm and hospitable. Families celebrate with their kids, it’s not unusual to see generations of families out together till the wee hours. Enjoy these two videos taken on Assumption Day.
The following day our friend Laudelina, was up and ready to show us her corner of the world, and she showed it with pride. We were grateful that she spoke English, as this part of Spain isn’t as touristy as other parts, so hardly any English is spoken.
Pravia – isn’t it wonderful when you just stumble on a place you weren’t really planning to visit? I’m so glad we did, it was quite a hike to get to the top, but we made it and the views were simply stunning!
Ortiguera (above) in the municipality of Coana – just enjoy these images. I’m at a loss to remember some of the places we visited. But as you will see, every village was so unique and special from the other.
Cuidellero above, is a delightful fishing port in Asturias. Its colorful houses climb uphill above the sea and the cobbled plaza. They stretch out in a semi-circle around the bay. There are plenty of bars, cafes and seafood restaurants. The port of Cuidellero is filled with fishing boats especially on an evening when the boats come back with the day’s catch. Enjoy the short video clip of the hustle and bustle around.
Basilica de Santa Maria la Real de Covadonga above is a stunning pink limestone basilica nestled on top of a steep climb with a beautiful backdrop of mountains and mature trees. We learned that the basilica was completed in 1901 to commemorate the Reconquista of Spain that began in this area of Asturias.
Picos de Europa (above) The Picos de Europa National Park was the first to be awarded that designation in Spain. We took a bus up to a certain point where we could then hike on our own. The views were tremendous, steep climbs to alpine meadows where you heard cowbells and encountered many cows and mountain goats. Jagged peaks and gorges and waterfalls, let the pictures speak for themselves, this is definitely Spain’s best kept secret.
How could I not include pictures of the food we enjoyed? Being on the coast, Asturias boasts an abundance of fresh seafood. You’ll see cider being poured from way up high in one of the pictures – cider is pretty popular in Asturias, there’s a method of pouring and drinking it. Unfortunately we were not able to try the regional dish which is Fabada Asturiana, a rich stew made of Asturian large white beans, pork shoulder, chorizo, saffron etc. It was hard to find in the summer time as we had visited in August.
A collage of pictures from different areas we had visited. A feast for all the senses in every way, wouldn’t you agree? There were many more places and pictures, but these were just a few on our visit to Spain’s northern coast. It’s been about a month now since we’ve returned from Asturias, but these images will be plastered in my memory for years to come. To say I was overwhelmed with all the different types of scenery would be an understatement, there aren’t any words to describe what I felt. Adios Amigos.