Thursday, July 21, 2011

Exploring Oviedo

Oviedo is the city where we had a train layover between Madrid and Ribadesella, so many amazing weeks ago.  While we had our car we went back to explore the old part of the city, now a pedestrian area.  One website boasts:  "One of the things that most visitors notice about Oviedo is how clean it is. Multiple winner of the annual “Golden Broom” award, this year it received the “Platinum Broom”, the highest distinction awarded by the Spanish Waste Management and Environment Technical Association."  We had heard this by Pablo, a man we met here, who has given us lots of information about traveling in the area and who, may visit us in Boulder sometime.
Driving in Oviedo was a real switch from Nava and Lastries.  It is the second largest city in Asturias with only about 200,000 people, however, the traffic was wild and the streets somewhat difficult to navigate.  I only got honked at once, when I thought I might have a chance of turning left off of a busy street (not!) and we only had to turn around once when I missed the turn on a round-about.  I never did figure out the rules about left turns on busy streets (without left-turn lanes) so when in doubt we turned right, right and right to go left!
We found a department store parking lot, immediately bought a map of the city, marked on the map where we parked, and found a cafe to have some coffee...of course.  It was raining, so a little disappointing, but the rain let up shortly after we finished our coffee.

The bull on the hill.  Oh, it's just a cut-out silhouette...on the road to Oviedo.
 The boys have encountered several very different, and to them, interesting toilets in Spain.  All the women's room I've seen have been pretty much the same as in the US.  Below is a squat toilet in the men's room of the cafe when we got to Oviedo.  The entire basin area is flooded when you flush.  The first toilet like this that Oliver encountered at a beach freaked him out.  He thought the whole bathroom was going to flood!
The pedestrian area of Oviedo has sculptures everywhere.
"Maternity" by Fernando Botero

Eduardo Úrculo's "The Traveler"

Oliver's pigeon picture at the justice building.

The justice building.

Terraces on the justice building
Cathedral de San Salvador on Plaza de Alfonso, Oviedo
 Detail from the Cathedral which was built in different sections between the 14th and 16th centuries:

Dance school.  Look at the variety offered!
 Wandering around Oviedo's Old Quarter:
Back side of the Cathedral de San Salvador.

Iglesia de San Isidoro, Plaza de la Constitución, Oviedo

Iglesia de San Isidoro with Mercado el Fontán at left.  The writing on the church says basically, "No playing ball here."

Detail from Iglesia de San Isidoro.

"King of the Ham"

Hamming Kings!  Look at all that chorizo!
La Lechera by Manuel Garcia Linares, Plaza Trascorrales, Oviedo
Plaza Trascorrales, Oviedo

Typical street in Oviedo where there are lots of clubs.  Clubs open at 11PM and close between 3:30 and 5:30AM.  Some have occupant limits as few as 25 people!  They also have plaques outside that state the above as well as the maximum decibel level for the club.

Plaza de Paraguas, Oviedo.  Formerly used as an open-air market.

Taking in the view and resting at Plaza de Paraguas.

Back at Cathedral de San Salvador, plugging Frasca in Europe again.

 "In the middle of the University of Oviedo’s courtyard is a statue of its founder, Fernando Valdés Salas. The statue’s expression is fatherly; benevolent but stern. It conveys a sense that Valdés was a serious educator dedicated to learning, and a kindly, wise man. But a little research reveals that a loathsome monster reigns in the University’s courtyard — rarely does history provide us such exquisitely evil characters as the Archbishop Fernando de Valdés Salas."  He rose to power through the inquisition.   

 As shown below, we noticed pock marks in the columns within the University courtyard.  The first time we saw such a thing was outside a church in Barcelona.  In Barcelona, Julia told us that they were from executions during the Spanish Civil War.  We saw the same thing at many churches and now at the University.  We wonder, and I would love to know more history about this, if these too were left from the civil war.
Within the University courtyard.

Not the U of O we know, University of Oviedo gate.

Culis Monumentalibus, or El Culo as it is popularly known, by Eduardo Úrcula,  Oviedo.  The scupture is the same on both sides.

La Bailarina by Santiago de Santiago with my Baile Folklorico dancer.


More shoes!  How do they walk in these at all let alone on cobblestones?!

Spencer with Woody, Oviedo.  Sculpture was made in honor of Woody Allen, who, after filming parts of Vicky Cristina Barcelona in Oviedo, praised the city mightily.

Modern Oviedo

Biscocho and espresso after a long day.


August's Tres en Uno: Ham, cheese and egg in toast.

Taking in the street scene.

Being part of the scene!

Iglesia de San Juan El Real, Oviedo
Detail of Iglesia de San Juan Real

 Before we left Oviedo for the day we explored Campo de San Francisco, Oviedo's Central Park of sorts.  Although the grounds appeared well-kept, the structures seemed a bit neglected.

Campo de San Francisco, Oviedo

Unmarked remains of an arch, Campo de San Francisco, Oviedo

Peacock atop the school of hotels and restaurants, Campo de San Francisco, Oviedo

Feeding the swan, Campo de San Francisco, Oviedo

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