Viajes al Extranjero


Somewhere in Asturias from the train

I’m a little behind on my posts, so I apologise. The last week of September was my final week of “pre-paid vacation” before I started teaching on 1 October. And to make the most of it, I took the train up to Gijón in Asturias and hung out with my friend and her boyfriend (see previous post).

It actually just worked out that they were going to be there at the same time as me. A guest staying with us in Madrid mentioned that I should check it out up there as it was a somewhat forgotten area of the country and in general would be a good place to look for work needing English speakers. Once he mentioned the climate, I was sold. I mentioned this to my friend in Segovia that I was going to visit the following week, and it just happened they were going to be there at the exact same time. I’m fine exploring by myself, but it’s always more fun with others!

At any rate, we took the train to Gijón on Monday the 23rd, found our Airbnb and started exploring the city. I mentioned the climate, and it’s a bit like Portland, which is probably why I loved it. Plus it’s a coastal city, so it has that going for it as well. Cool and occasionally rainy, but rather green. A welcome relief from the semi-arid plateau that is Madrid.

One of the things the region of Asturias is known for is its (hard) cider, so we found a sidrería (cider house?) and ordered a round along with some local raw cheeses and a plate of something similar to poblano peppers. First off it was an amazing meal, even if it was only cheese and peppers. Secondly, the traditional way of pouring cider is rather interesting.

Instead of just pouring it like beer out of the bottle, the waiter holds your glass down by his thigh and pours the cider from a height above his head. They do this to add a natural aeration to the drink giving it an effervescence that’s rather satisfying. You can tell the ones who have been pouring for a while, because they do the whole thing without looking or whilst talking to others. It’s amusing to watch.

It should be noted that they don’t pour you a full glass. You’re only supposed to pour just enough for a full mouthful that you’re then supposed to drink all in one go, leaving just a little at the bottom. Those few drops get tossed out before the next refill. You do it in this way so it stays aerated instead of losing its fizz during the time it would take you to drink a full glass.

And that’s my fascination with Spanish cider. We drank it every time we went out since it was easy to find, unlike in Madrid.

Other highlights from the trip were walking up and down the beach and boardwalk, which is always entertaining, renting those silly electric scooters that are everywhere in all cities these days and riding them to the far end of the boardwalk, and visiting a really cool botanical garden.

Statue we discovered welcoming refugees

The scooters, which I had never given a second thought, turned out to be really fun. They get up to 25km/hr, which is a decent speed and gets you where you need to go. Plus, zipping along the boardwalk at night watching the sun set over the ocean (technically the bay)… there are worse ways to spend an evening. It’s also how we discovered this statue at the far end.

The botanical garden was a lot better than we had expected it to be. And significantly larger too. Had we known we would have went earlier in the day. As it were, we spent a few hours there until it got too late to see.

Because of administrative matters that I had to tend to in Madrid, I came back Thursday while my friends stayed until the following Monday. While I didn’t want to leave, it was good to get my affairs in order before I started work on Tuesday.

Which is another post in its own. That one doesn’t have any pictures to edit, so it’ll be just a quick wall of text, and thence should be up sooner rather than later.