Asturias, patria querida

An accidental bucket list item of mine is to visit all the Comunidades Autónomas of Spain. Comunidades Autónomas are the 17 different provinces of Spain. So far, I have visited 10.  I didn’t make it a goal for my time in Spain because if I planned it, I had the feeling I would let myself down if it didn’t come through. I still would like to visit them all, but we will just see where the year takes me.

This weekend’s adventure took me and a friend of mine to Asturias in the north of Spain. I spent one day in Oviedo and two days in Gijón. We planned it on a whim and prayed for good weather. The North is notorious for rain, and lots of rain. So we crossed our fingers and packed our rain gear. I took a 5.5 hour bus from Madrid to Oviedo on Friday. I guess the good thing about rain is the green landscapes. We drove through some mountains and it instantly reminded me of the mountains in Costa Rica. I arrived to the city and just started walking to take advantage of the beautiful, sunny day. It’s a bigger city and had incredibly beautiful and charming architecture.  It was all very colorful and ornate. When I arrived, it was lunch time so I walked into the main plaza and found a nice little restaurant. I had multiple suggestions from teachers at school to drink sidra (cider) and eat “cachopo”. See pictures below for references. Cachopo is not for those with a small stomach. It’s two thin veal cutlets and in between is ham and melted cheese. Then it’s fried. WOAH. Good thing I did lots of waking to burn off those calories. I saw the cathedral, walked through the park, and did some shopping. Then I hopped on a local bus to Gijón. A short 30minute bus ride to the coast.

I met up with April in Gijón and we got dinner at a Sidraría. We had lots to catch up about as we haven’t seen each other since May. We decided around 3am that we have another full day to chat. Saturday was another beautiful day with no rain. We joked that we had to go back to the room so we could put our summer shirts on instead of our winter sweaters. We headed straight to the water and were very surprised when there we saw a ton of people swimming and tanning. It was in the high 60’s but they were taking advantage of the nice day. We stayed dry and kept walking. We walked to this funky sculpture thing on top of a hill. It’s called Cerro de Santa Catalina. It was a nice little hike and pretty views of the beach and the ports. We headed to a little bar restaurant for lunch, per recommendation of April’s teacher friend. We got there at a perfect time right before the rush. We ordered some sidra but were very confused when they didn’t pour it for us. Sidra has to be poured a special way for optimal taste and experience. We played the tourist card and asked for help and they poured it for us at the table. We split the cachopo and it was much more doable between two people.

Some more walking around the town, some shopping and a walk to another beach to watch the sunset.  A perfect weekend escape for a nice dose of vitamin “sea”.


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