Think of Spain, and what do you see? Crowded beaches, paella, flamenco dancers? Yes, so did I before getting to know Asturias on the north coast. It’s another, much fresher world altogether. Did you know that the Rockies of Europe take place in Spain?
Early autumn is a fantastic time of the year to visit the north of España. What a blessing it was to experience 30 degrees of Celsius on a golden beach in late September, deserted, as most locals think it’s totally off-season already. Eucalyptus trees paved our way to the wavy shore of the Atlantic, and the little fisherman villages served perfectly fresh and affordable crab and sidra natural for the travelers in need of some pinchos.
As the days grew a bit chillier, we continued to Picos de Europa, and their free-roaming cows, goats, ponies, deer, and a few very gorgeous lake scenes between the mountains. Sleeping over at a cosy haven called La Montaña Magica, we made a nice fire in the bedroom for the night and enjoyed a hot bath in the jacuzzi in front of it after a home-cooked dinner with the best of cava in tune with some classical music. Very classy indeed. We woke up to a perfect mountain-scene sunrise through the window and had huge cups of cafe con leche for breakfast.
Beleño is a small mountain village home to artist Adolfo P. Suarez. His guirky street-scene paintings present a fascinating 3D experience with electrical lighting included in some of them, and he has created a large selection of portraits. Back in the beachy harbor town of Gijón, we crawled through a variety of local shops and taverns, such as La Galana and Bara-Baró, while maintaining a very pleasant puntín all the while.
The highlight of the week, however, was a beautiful Spanish wedding that seemed to attend to every imaginable local detail, including a short, stylish ceremony at the council hall, a fancy carriage ride by two huge, handsome horses, freshly cut jamón served at the entrance of Bellavista, and even complimentary flat ballerina shoes for the women tired of their hyper-high heels at the end of the extravaganza. Moreover, the wedding was a perfect opportunity to catch up with old and new friends and relatives spread around the country – or the world – such as the cosmopolitan architect cousins of sukunfuku stationed until further notice in London and Paris.
The photos on this page have been taken by me, and for more beautiful pictures from Asturias by Luis Lafuente, please visit Imagenes de Asturias.