Sunday, June 29, 2008

European Cup - Spain Wins!

The build up to the European Cup was intense. We watched as Spain beat Italy in a penalty-kicks shootout in the quarterfinals. Then the victorious Spanish destroyed Russia (3-0) in the semifinals. The final game was tonight Spain versus Germany and Spain won! It has been 44 years since they last won a European title and that meant they really had something to celebrate. After the big games all the fans go to Plaza America in Oviedo to celebrate. It was pretty intense and I'm glad I was here to see it happen.

This is Plaza America in Oviedo after Spain won the 2008 European Cup

Crazy Spanish drivers even more crazy after Spain wins.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Room of My Own

While traveling, I've noticed that one really needs to have a little space all to themself. For me, my room in Oviedo is my little place to escape the world and yet have it handy when I need it. I have everything I need right here and a view too. I really like my neighborhood, my apartment, my landlords, my roommates, my coworker, my room.
This is my bedroom window at night. Isn't it nice? :)

This is the view out my bedroom window here in Oviedo. I love it. I wake up in the morning and open the curtain to see what the day is like. It is nice for people watching and very very pleasant at night.
Even though the title of this entry is called A Room of My Own, I've added this picture of the Cathedral. The cathedral is very close to my apartment and I simply love taking pictures of it. This shot was a little difficult to take, but I love how it turned out.

Friday, June 27, 2008

End of the Oviedo Program

Today was the last official day of the Oviedo Study Abroad Program. It has been an excellent year. We had a great group of easy going people. It was also fun to be here in 2008 because the Universidad de Oviedo was founded in 1608, so they were celebrating 400 years this year. This year has been nice to because I've made some more friends and strengthen old friendships. Overall the experience of living in Oviedo is very enjoyable and I highly recommend a visit. The picture to the right is the old cathedral tower. The one below is of the original university building; kind of like President's Circle at the U only a lot older.

Universidad de Oviedo celebrating 400 years of academics!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oviedo at night

One of my favorite things about Oviedo is how charming it is at night. It is easy to see why the locals stay out so late. I love to walk around the old part of town in the cool quite night (with my camera in hand of course). Here are a few pictures of Oviedo at night.

This is the BBVA that you can see from my bedroom window. It is a sweet old building and I love the lighting at night.

This is one of my favorite buildings in Oviedo. I call it the Burberry tower because there is a Burberry store in the bottom, but a lot of people call it the Giraffe because it is the tallest building in town.

This building is home to an insurance company and with a building like this they have to be very SURE of themselves.

As I've meantioned before, Oviedo is full of statues. This is one of my favorites of a young girl walking while reading something.

Yet more statues. These horses having been standing in front of the Cajastur building for a very very long time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Don Juan Tenorio and other random things from Oviedo

This is one of my favorite little corners of Oviedo - Trascorrales

For a mid week activity we went to the Cathedral for a guided tour. The building fascinates me. In this picture we see the cloister.

Oviedo has so many statues and works of art in the streets, plazas and parks. This is a detail of a statue near my apartment. The leaf was just there and caught my eye. :)

This is the chandelier in the very beautiful theatre Campoamor. A good friend from graduate school and I went to watch Don Juan Tenorio (by Jose Zorrilla) at the Campoamor. We read, analyzed and critiqued the work back in the day, but this time around we just sat back and enjoyed the show - which was made all the more enjoyable since the theater was built in the mid 1800's the same time Zorrilla's work was popular.

Monday, June 23, 2008

San Juan

La noche de San Juan is a very old celebration. Though its religious name envokes acts of piety, the celebration has its origins in the changing of the seasons and marks the start of summer (it is most likely that the origins of the celebration are Celtic or pagan). The enormous purifying fires destroy the past and shine brightly for the rebirth of the sun and the summer. The festival is celebrated in many parts of the world. The fire in Oviedo is in the plaza in front of the cathedral (50 yards from my apartment). La Hoguera de San Juan in Oviedo, España

Dancers dance around the fire during the celebration of San Juan. Notice the three cornered celtic design. My family originates from the Isle of Man and we have a symbol that is very close to this, but it is a three-legged figure.

The cathedral in Oviedo on the night of San Juan

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Covadonga, Cangas de Onis and the River Sella

For one of the weekend trips we went to Covadonga, Cangas de Onis and then went canoing down the Sella River. Covadonga is the birthplace of the Reconquista. It is the site where the Spanish won the decisive battle against the invading Moors in 718AD. It is said that even the Virgin Mary joined in the battle and helped save the day. The first two pictures are of the Basilica at Covadonga. The picture with the three crosses is inside the cave of Covadonga that leads to the small chapel dedicated to the Virgen de Covadonga. The final picture is the Roman Bridge in Cangas de Onis. The bridge is actually from the gothic period, but it replaced the old roman bridge and that's how is got its name.

After the visits to the historical sites we went down the Sella River in canoes. It was great fun and a beautiful day to be on the river. The water was clear. The sun was out. The world was good.
The Roman Bridge in Cangas de Onis

Monday, June 16, 2008

Valdedios y la playa

For the second excursion (last weekend) we went to see some of the historic buildings at Valdedios and then hit Rodiles Beach. At Valdedios we visited a 9th century church, La Iglesia de San Salvador de Valdedios and the convent. The picture to the left is part of the covered porch in the church. The church was completed in the year 892 - that is a very long time ago and bogles my mind to think about the time this church has sat in this now quite valley. Next to the church is the Monasterio de Santa Maria de Valdedios which has seen many additions and changes over the years. Over all the Valdedios (Valley of God) is a very peaceful place full of historical tid-bits.
Courtyard in the Monasterio de Santa Maria de Valdedios with Fernando Rubio

One of the side chapels at La Iglesia de San Salvador de Valdedios
Monasterio de Santa Maria de Valdedios

Detail of window in La Iglesia de San Salvador de Valdedios

Your typical Spanish Sunbather, ok so this really isn't very typical for Spanish swimwear which tends to be a little more revealing :) Rodiles Beach, Asturias Spain


Gijon is a quick bus or train ride away from Oviedo. There is another group of students from the U there. I've been there several times this year and last to visit friends and explore. This year we went to the Aquarium and the Jovellanos Museum, both were very interesting. I have also added some pictures in San Pedro, which was damaged during the Spanish Civil War. It has been rebuilt and there looks very new and clean. It makes me think of what all the old buildings here would have looked like when they were new and it makes me think what our new buildings will look like after a couple centuries (if they are still standing).
San Pedro in Gijon

San Pedro in Gijon

This is Jovellanos' desk in the Mueso Jovellanos in Gijon... Basically it is a 17th century laptop: a place to save your letters and documents, a place to write you "blog" and send emails... It is also simply beautiful.

Gijon's Aquarium

Gijon's Aquarium

Monday, June 9, 2008


Avilés is very close to Oviedo. The old part of town is a fun place to spend an afternoon exploring. There are several old churches and some great old houses and palaces. Unfortunately when I went most of the churches were closed. None the less, I was able to get a few good pictures. The first is the detailed arch over the main entrance to a church. The next is a column from the Jardín Francés which used to be the backyard of a countess back has since become a public park. Then there is a great little house with flowers in the windows. The final picture I think captures Avilés: the black and red stone sidewalks, the well maintained next to the not-so-much, and the gentleman who has most likely lived here all his life. I actually really like #6… I think it is charming. :)




Oviedo at Night

Oviedo is a great place to take pictures. Here are a few pictures I took the other night... after a light evening rain everything was nice and clean. I live right in the old part of town and it is beautiful during the day and enchanting at night.

Oviedo - Parque de San Francisco

Oviedo - Parque de San Francisco



Sunday, June 8, 2008

Luarca, Castro de Coaña y Cudillero

While we are here in Oviedo we have various excursions and activities. One of the first ones was a visit to Western Asturias and the Castro de Coaña, which is the site of a ruined Celtic village. Slate is very abundant in the region and has been a popular building material for centuries; many rural houses still have slate roofs and as you can see from the picture the ruins are almost completely made of slate. There were thousands of tiny flowers growing in and around the walls and it was quite charming. Being in a charming Celtic village and seeing the flowers made me think of all the fairies and gnomes who must have filled the imaginations of the children who lived here. What would it have been like 2000 years ago when humanity was still so young and fairly innocent?
Castro de Coaña - Celtic Walls

Castro de Coaña

Flowers Castro de Coaña

Castro de Coaña

After visiting the Castro de Coaña, we visited two other towns. The first was Luarca which is where we had lunch and is the hometown of a couple of my roommates. The picture I’m posting from Luarca is a row of beach cabins. Some of them are privately owned others you can rent for a day, week, month or season. They aren’t very big, but they are right by the beach and are a great place to change or storage your beach gear. We stopped in the small town of Cudillero on our way back to Oviedo. The town is built in a gorge and most of it is only accessible by the hundreds of stairs and narrow alleys.



Cudillero - The woman in the window makes me think of the song "Marta" by Nena Daconte