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For 91 Days in Oviedo – The E-Book

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We’ve made the effort to convert our blog about Oviedo and Asturias into an e-book. For 91 Days in Oviedo contains all of our articles and a selection of over 150 of our best pictures. With an index sorted by category, links to the original blog posts, and cross-references spread throughout, the e-book is a perfect companion for a trip to Oviedo.

Amazon Kindle

Direct Download (PDF, MOBI)

For just a few bucks, you can download your own copy of the book for use on your e-reader or computer, giving you access to our anecdotes and articles wherever you are, without having to connect to the internet. And, buying the e-book is a great way to support our project… take a look at some sample pages from the PDF.

Don’t forget to check out our other e-books, from our 91 days in Oviedo, Savannah, Buenos Aires, Bolivia, Palermo, Sri Lanka, Busan, Idaho, Istanbul, Iceland, the Yucatán, Tokyo, Macedonia, Valencia and Curaçao!

October 4, 2011 at 10:22 pm Comments (16)

For 91 Days in Oviedo

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Oviedo, the capital of Spain’s lush and mountainous Kingdom of Asturias, played host to us for three months — from August to the end of October, 2010. This was the first stop of our For 91 Days project, and we picked it for a mix of practical and personal reasons. We were already living in Spain, so the move wasn’t difficult, and we knew Spanish. But mainly, we chose Asturias based on the enthusiastic recommendations of our friends — this wild, beautiful land is largely unvisited by foreigners, and there was plenty to discover.

Asturias Blog

What follows below are some of the highlights of our three-month stay… you can also check out our comprehensive index or explore our blog by starting at the very beginning. We’re sure you’ll agree that we chose an incredible place to begin our journey…

Buildings and Monuments

Oviedo is a monumental and wonderfully clean, frustratingly slow city… that still knows how to party. With a history stretching back a millennium, there are churches and buildings galore. The Cathedral sits in the heart of the city and impresses as much with its sheer age, as its beauty. Inside, you can find the Cámara Santa (Holy Chamber) which contains treasures such as la Cruz de Victoria, and which was bombed by atheist Republicans during the devastating Miner’s Strike. The University remains one of the most respected in Spain, and offers a wonderful tour. And for fans of architecture, Oviedo lays claim to some of the best Preromanesque structures in all Europe, particularly the Santa María del Naranco and the San Miguel de Lillo, up on the Naranco hill.

Eating and Drinking

No image is as emblematic of Asturias as a person standing upright, with his arm raised high overhead, pouring out cider. Called escanciando, we had plenty of opportunity to practice this tricky craft, with lessons learned at a nearby sidrería. We also ate more than our share of fabada, the rich bean dish which is at least partly to blame for the portly nature of many Asturians. Equally culpable is the mammoth cachopo — a dish we ordered whenever possible. And when people in Oviedo get a sweet tooth, they often turn to the sickeningly rich carbayón. We also checked out an incredible family-owned farm outside the city, where goat cheese and milk is elaborated.

Parks & Statues

For some reason, in the 1990s Oviedo decided to turn itself into an open-air museum, by erecting statues by various artists all over the city. Nowadays, you can hardly go a block without encountering an interesting statue. Our favorites included Eduardo Úrculo’s tribute to film noir, and Botero’s massive homage to maternity. Adding to the sense of recreation are a number of tranquil parks, such as the San Francisco and the Campillín. Just outside the city, the Senda del Oso is a track that takes you past gorgeous areas and even a couple brown bears. And just a bit further afield, no trip to Asturias is complete without a visit to the amazing Parque Natural de Somiedo.

Exploring Asturias

Oviedo was a great base, but in order to truly experience the beauty of the land, we were forced to frequently get out of the city. We went to gorgeous beaches with names both evocative and goofy. Hiking was a big part of our time in Asturias as well, and we trekked along the coast and into the mountains. We also loved the other towns of Asturias — Ribadesella, Cudillero, Gijón and Llanes were among our favorites. And we were mystified by the Catholic mecca of Covadonga, the legendary last bastion of Christianity against the Moors.

It turns out, you can fit a lot of adventure into three months! Whether you’re visiting the region, or just curious about it, we hope you enjoy our articles and pictures about this incredible piece of Spain. Please leave comments, and don’t forget to sign up to our RSS feed, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

June 9, 2011 at 1:52 am Comments (0)

¡Adios, Oviedo!

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The decision to squirrel away all our worldly possessions in storage and embark on this travel project was not without risks. Any number of things might have gone wrong, and if we didn’t pick a great city for our initial leg, it could have been a disaster. We had to choose something perfect, and really hit the jackpot with Oviedo.

Bye Bye Oviedo

Of course, it wasn’t just luck. Since our arrival in Spain three years ago, friends had been telling us how beautiful Asturias was, particularly at the end of summer. So we expected to enjoy ourselves here. But neither Juergen nor I anticipated just how much we would love it. Asturias is a special place in the world. Both wild and elegant. Historic. Spain, but also somehow not Spain. There’s a sense of spirit here, not unlike what we found in Ireland. Maybe it’s the rain. Or the nature… mountains, forests, verdant valleys. Cliffs and the crashing ocean. These things inspire superstition and awe. They make you feel small, and yet very much alive.

Oviedo is the shining crystal castle of Asturias. We’ve explored this city from top to bottom, west to east. Oviedo is regal. Polished. It’s clean and safe, and proud to be so. Oviedo is also old, both in terms of its actual age and the seniority of its citizens. Seeing a 90-year-old woman hobble past a thousand-year-old building isn’t an uncommon sight. Life is slower; I suppose when a city has seen over twelve centuries and innumerable wars pass by, there’s no reason to hurry.

The people of Oviedo — the carbayones or ovetenses — are wonderful. Calm, polite, and with a measured Spanish accent which is easy on our slow, foreign ears. We didn’t need long to fall into the rhythm of life here. Sidra and cochopos? Who could possibly dislike that?! Hours spent inside cafés, without the slightest pressure to hurry out. Well-dressed Ovetenses, greeting each other on the street after church; or pausing to chat with goofy foreigners like Juergen and I, just because it’s a nice thing to do.

We’re going to miss Oviedo. But I won’t pretend that we’re not excited to get moving on to our next destination: Savannah, Georgia, one of the USA’s most historic cities, with an eccentric Southern culture that’s quite unlike anything I’m used to from growing up in the Midwest.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our articles and pictures about Oviedo and Asturias — and that you stay with us as we continue to explore the world, three months at a time.

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Luna Oviedo
Leaving Oviedo
Oviedo Spain
Car Rental Oviedo
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October 24, 2010 at 5:00 pm Comments (7)
For 91 Days