Oviedo: Gracias por su visita

As I usually do when I go on holiday with the family, I get up before anyone else and head off into the early morning light to get a couple of hours of me-time with my camera, returning in a relaxed frame of mind, often with some local treats for breakfast. It’s a win-win situation for all, though I feel I get the better part of the deal when I’m in a place as gorgeous looking as Oviedo, the capital of the province of Asturias in northern Spain. Walking around the medieval old town before the streets are busy, watching the market stalls being set up, discovering the cafes and bakeries that cater to us early birds, what more could an inquisitive traveller want.

Honestly, I have plenty of photos of the beautiful squares and streets that make up the old town but I rarely end up processing those shots as I feel they add little to what has been already captured by others. This next selection of just six images gives a clearer idea of what works for me and would be enough for me leave Oviedo with a big smile. I love the fact that someone has had the sense of humour to place the rainbow benches proudly in ‘Plaza de la Escandalera’, which translates nicely as Scandal Square; the electric candles to San Antonio is my favourite shot from a series of the┬ástunning cathedral of San Salvador; a red stop sign on a leafy green background, with added quirky post, is always going to look graphically pleasing; the kitchen door and wall in the Airbnb apartment where we stayed has something extra-ordinarily ordinary about it; the cold tone of the ceiling in the bar ‘Per Se‘ (where I drank a Pisco Sour, or two) and the slowly revolving fan; and the smiling VIP rope barrier in the cathedral’s inner courtyard…

And then there’s the voice of the youth…

The sports ground of the Alfonso II high school backs on to the opera house and I managed to get the shot of the two facilities before I was kindly asked to leave, the spot where higher education meets high art. I like a bit of graffiti art but I’ve never been too keen on tagging. Then again, I don’t live in a country where the youth unemployment rate is at 38.6% and I too might get a little bitter with all the tourists swanning around, snapping away with expensive cameras round their necks…

Wandering around Oviedo, I got the impression that the old town is for tourists, whereas the locals would prefer to eat and drink elsewhere. A lot of the area is run down but plenty of it has been, or is in the process of being, renovated. I wouldn’t be surprised if the words of the graffiti artist come true and, in ten years time, the whole of the old town has been taken over by ‘hipsters’ catering to the transient population, a bit like a mini Barcelona. I wouldn’t mind spending a lot more time there, with the coastal city of Gij├│n twenty minutes away and the mountains all around waiting to be explored. And did I mention the food and the wine (cider, if you prefer, is a specialty of the region). Just need to convince the wife that it’s a good idea for our retirement years…

 

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