With what feels like forever since I last wrote a blog post, I promise I’ve been doing a lot within the city of Oviedo and traveling a bit to experience other Spanish cities to compare to Oviedo. When comparing cities and other regions to Oviedo and Asturias, possibly the easiest comparison is among the gastronomy and landscape of the city itself. For example, fabada is a very popular soup in Asturias with beans, vegetables, and chorizo, whereas octopus is a typical dish in Galicia, the autonomous community to the west of Asturias I visited a few weekends ago. Oviedo is full of hills (I remind myself it’s a slight workout every time I have to walk up the large hills), but Salamanca, located in the autonomous community of Castillo and Leon to the south of Asturias, is fairly flat and easy to walk through.
A great way for students studying in the University of Oviedo’s Casa de las Lenguas to learn about Spain and the differences between communities is through the culture week held a week before Semana Santa – when spring break is held. Depending on the coursework you are taking in Casa, you would sign up for either one or two workshops from cooking, botany, theater, storytelling, photography, singing, journalism, and film. I was lucky enough to get the two I wanted, photography and cooking, for my two workshops for the week.
In cooking, I learned more about the gastronomy of Spain to build on what I had already learned in my Society and Culture of Spain class. When losing at the history of Spanish cuisine, religious influences played a huge role in what types of foods were cooked and how they were eaten. For example, Christian influences brought a lot of “finger food” because typically utensils were not used; the Jewish brought a lot of new vegetables, such as green beans (they’re called Judias Verdes or Jewish beans in Spanish); the Muslims brought saffron, a main ingredient that is still used in a lot of Spanish dishes today.
Photography was a different type of class in comparison to cooking. We took pictures around the city of Oviedo – mine were pictures of food and colorful houses – and printed them out. We added captions to all of our pictures and decorated a frame for the picture. The pictures were then on display at the end of the week when other workshops introduced their topics to those students who had not been in them.
Currently, the university is on break for Semana Santa. I was lucky enough to have my parents visit me for the week, during which we are visiting Madrid, Oviedo, Bilbao, and Barcelona. With a lot of sights to see and attractions to visit, I’m sure I will have a lot to do with the next few days, to have even more to relate back to my now second home of Oviedo.
Below are the two photos I used for my photography workshop with their captions: