Last summer, friends of my family came to Europe. M is from Spain so her, JP and her mother come back to their flat in Gijon, in the north of Spain, every once in a while. Knowing I was only 1-2hour flight away from them, they invited me to come along. I could never refuse! First, because of how much I wanted to see them after a year abroad and second, because it’s Spain! How could I say no to seeing people who are as close as family in this awesome country I always wanted to visit! So I planned to head there for just over a week in July 2013. As I was in the middle of dissertation writing, I thought it would be a good break from the general sleep/eat/read/write mode I was under – and I was right as I wrote most of it while in Spain (but more on that later).
After a short stay in London, I took a flight to the airport of Asturias near Gijon. They came to get me at the airport and after a few tears we headed to Gijon. We only had to walk a little from the bus station to reach their flat. It was so fun to be there with them! Not only did I have very knowledgeable guides and historians at hands, I also had surrogate parents and grandmother. I was completely spoiled when I was in Spain – and knowing I was in the middle of dissertation, they made sure I had time to focus on my writing every day. It was amazing!
The trip started with a long walk around the town and the beach and then we had some tapas and drinks by the harbour. The picture above was my first sunset in Spain. It was surreal and peaceful. A wonderful start to the trip.
We didn’t have the best weather as it was a very cloudy and rainy summer in continental Europe, but it didn’t stop us from having fun. One lucky day I even got to go see more of the country life! We headed to see friends of their family in a coastal village near Gijon.
There’s one thing to say about Spanish people, they know how to do a good meal. Oh my gosh I don’t think I have ever eaten that much in my life! We spend hours at the lunch table. Not just that day, but every single day. People were absolutely generous and so eager to make me taste their local food and wine. It was lovely! I even tried a bit of the typical ‘fabada asturiana’ (although I may have left the blood sausage aside for some reason 😉 ).
Asturias is also known for their cider. Cidraaaa as my good friend Cathy would say. For the perfect serving they pour the cider from up in the air to fall in the glass held as low as possible. I think if I tried I would probably pour the whole thing on the floor, but they have a technique and it is really cool to look at! Demonstrated in the picture below. ha!
I spent another week in Gijon and days mainly consisted of having lunch for hours, writing 1-2000 words and going to the beach. Such a hard life! I didn’t do my tourist while in Gijon so I can’t say a lot about what to see there. What I can say is that it is a gorgeous city to visit, with amazing beaches (and the water was very warm in my humble opinion), great food, welcoming locals and so much history! Walking around felt like going back in time, especially in the peninsula that conceals the old town. Here are some pictures to show its beauty.
Gijon isn’t on the list of many people who visit Spain, but I recommend it to be able to experience the peculiar culture of the Asturian region. It shares celtic roots just like Ireland and Scotland and I saw bagpipe players more than once. What a coincidence, right?
It was also great to see Spain and get my expectations blown out of the water. Not just going to Spain to see exactly what I expected. Aren’t those the best kind of travelling experiences?
A special thank you to M, JP and Ita for being so absolutely wonderful and generous with me and making this trip so memorable! xx