Oviedo, Spain, Europe
I had a good night’s sleep at Laura’s place, got my stuff together this morning, and left before I ever saw anyone in the house. I left my keys behind and grabbed a bus to the city center and got my Alsa bus to Oviedo. It was just a couple of hours to get here and my hotel is only a five minute walk from the bus station, so that made it easy. I’m staying in a place called Hotel Confort, and it’s a two star for only €25 per night. I didn’t expect much for that, but I”m actually really impressed. Maybe it’s because I’ve been paying about the same amount for dorm rooms lately, but it’s so nice to have my own room, with wifi, tv, and my own bathroom. It doesn’t take much to impress me now when it comes to accommodation.
The guy at the front desk gave me a map of Oviedo and pointed out the things I should see while walking around. I headed out to see what the town was like, and within two hours, I’d seen it all. It’s a really nice little old town, where I started in the park, and then walked through the city to see all of the old buildings that were pointed out on the map. The most impressive, by far, was the cathedral in the center. It was on a large square, and there was a wedding going on while I was there. That stopped me from being able to check out the inside, but the outside of it was really nice. I got an ice cream cone from a little local place and sat in the square for a while just people watching and enjoying my surroundings.
I checked out one of the oldest churches in the city, San Julian de los Prados, but unfortunately I could not go inside. It was recommended that I check out these three old churches tomorrow morning before mass starts. This is the only one in the city center, the other two are a bit further out, but I can get a bus to see them. I came back to the hotel and relaxed for a while until it was time for dinner. Of course, here in Spain that means after 10pm, so I was starving!
I went out to a street called Gascona – The Boulevard of Cider. Alcoholic apple cider is really popular up here, and they have a very strange way of serving it. There is no gas in the cider, so instead of drinking it flat, the waiters will come over to your table, hold the glass as low as possible with one hand, and hold the bottle as high as possible with the other hand. They will then pour the cider into the glass from about four feet apart (while missing the glass quite a bit). They pour about two shots into the glass, and then hand you the glass, which you have to drink immediately. They say the flavor changes because of the way this method aerates the drink. I did as they told me and had the two gulps of cider, which was very nice, but I was then left with an empty glass. You just have to sit and wait for another waiter to come around and pour you another sip before you can drink again. I don’t think this technique would be very popular in the UK.
I ordered a couple of tapas for dinner, a spicy sausage boiled in cider, and potato croquettes with ham. Both were excellent, and went perfectly with the cider. I enjoyed my meal, and people watched for a while on el Bulevar de la Sidra. This was clearly the place to be on a Saturday night, and I think I was lucky to have even gotten a table. This is a busy little town, and I like it a lot. Tomorrow morning I’ll check out those other two churches out of town before I catch my bus down to Madrid.