As I briefly mentioned in my last post, my parents came to visit me in Spain for my spring break, or Semana Santa. In most of Spain, if not all, spring break is held the week leading up to Easter. This is probably due to the
large amount of festivities held throughout the week, such as the parade celebrating Holy Week in Oviedo.
My parents and I traveled to 4 cities in Spain, making a two-day stop in Oviedo. Though the time was short, we filled those two days with Oviedo’s famous museums, a self-guided tour led by yours truly, and the delicious restaurants offered in the city. We arrived in Oviedo from Madrid by train at about noon, dropped our stuff in the hotel, and grabbed a quick bite to eat at a local cafe.
Later, we took Oviedo’s easy bus system around the city, eventually landing at the large mall right outside of the city. We rode the bus back into the city and ate in a local marisqueria called La Chalana, where the Temple group and I actually ate our first Jaime Dinner in Oviedo. Eating quite possibly the best steak dinner I’ve had in a while, my parents and I easily agreed the meal was one of the best throughout the entire trip.
The following day was full of visits with my family. First, we made a trip to the cathedral of Oviedo. A mass was being held when we visited, so we were unable to see that part of the cathedral until later in the day (big tip: if there is a mass while visiting most cathedrals in Spain, you can almost always get your ticket stamped saying that you plan to return later in the day to tour the inside of the cathedral!). We toured the cathedral museum and the cloister, since they were open for tours during that time. The cathedral in Oviedo is also a very significant part of the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage from various points in Europe, ending in Santiago de Compostela, a city in A Coruña, Galicia, because it is the only one along the northern route that has only one tower on the facade, instead of the normal two or more towers in other cathedrals.
After, I took my parents to the free Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts). There are two parts to this museum, one with older works of religious and monarchical paintings and the other with more recent works from artists like Picasso and Dali. At night, we had the opportunity to watch the Spanish soccer team play in a European qualifier against the Netherlands, with some takeaway pizza.
Though my parents didn’t get to spend a lot of time in Oviedo, there is definitely so much more to see and experience. If you have guests coming to Oviedo, you might take them to the archaeological museum, definitely important in Spanish and Asturian history; the museum also happens to be free! The only downside to this museum is that it’s closed Mondays and Tuesdays — the two days my parents were here. If the weather is nice, beaches are within an hour away; towns like Gijon and Aviles have beaches, as well as large varieties of restaurants – Gijon actually has a restaurant that claims to sell Philly cheesesteaks!
If you’re in the mood for something in nature other than the beach, Mount Naranco is definitely a sight visited by a lot of Oviedo and Asturias tourists. Located at the top of a mountain, a Jesus statue — one very similar to that in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — stands, lit at night, watching over the city of Oviedo. You can get to the top by hiking (Warning: it’s about 3.5 miles to get up to the top) or by taking a bus that leaves you off at other pre-Romanesque buildings, such as churches, and then the statue is right around the corner.