The Principality of Asturias, Spain

Viewpoint overlooking the fishing town of Lastres and the Sierra del Sueve mountains, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

Viewpoint overlooking the fishing town of Lastres and the Sierra del Sueve mountains, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

The Principality of Asturias in northwest Spain was part of the larger Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages.  We docked in the largest city in Asturias, Xixón (Gijon), which gave us an opportunity over two days to explore the region and the city.

“Through the rebellion of Henry II of Castile in the 14th century, the Principality of Asturias was established… After its integration into the Kingdom of Spain, Asturias provided the Spanish court with high-ranking aristocrats and played an important role in the colonization of America. Since 1388, the heir to the Castilian (later Spanish) throne has been styled Prince of Asturias. In the 16th century, the population reached 100,000 for the first time, and within another century that number would double due to the arrival of American corn… During the 18th century, Asturias was one of the centres of the Spanish Enlightenment… Asturias played an important part in the events that led up to the Spanish Civil War.” – Wikipedia

The fishing fleet at the pier in Lastres, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

The fishing fleet at the pier in Lastres, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

We drove about 40 minutes to the small fishing town of Lastres (population 1,200) to see a program started recently to assist two experienced fishing net weavers and menders expand their business by offering training to other locals and to encourage tourism to view the fishing pier and learn about the use of nets and their mending.

Nets on the pier in Lastres, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

Nets on the pier in Lastres, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

A dying art -- repairing fishing nets on the pier at Lastres, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

A dying art — repairing fishing nets on the pier at Lastres, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

Part of the fishing fleet at the pier in Lastres, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

Part of the fishing fleet at the pier in Lastres, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

Fishermen's chapel, overlooking Lastres, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

Fishermen’s chapel, overlooking Lastres, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

From Lastres we drove to the historic hillside village of Tazones.  We had the opportunity to explore and shop in the village before heading to Restaurante Carols V to sample some local specialties.

Nautical attire for sale, Tazones, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

Nautical attire for sale, Tazones, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

The Asturias region is well known for their local sidras (apple cider) which is bottled like beer.

Buznego, a local sidra (apple cider), at a cafe in Tazones, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

Buznego, a local sidra (apple cider), at a cafe in Tazones, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

Traditionally sidra (cider) is served in small clear glasses which are only partially filled by the server who pours the sidra from way above the glass (see photograph, below) — a custom reminiscent of how hot mint tea is poured in Morocco.

Pouring local sidra (apple cider) at a cafe in Tazones, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

Pouring local sidra (apple cider) at a cafe in Tazones, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

In addition to some excellent local sausages, we finished our late afternoon snack with some delicious local blue cheese served with membrillo.

Local blue cheese and membrillo with a glass of sidra (apple cider) at a cafe in Tazones, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain

Local blue cheese and membrillo with a glass of sidra (apple cider) at a cafe in Tazones, Asturias region (near Gijon), Spain


5 thoughts on “The Principality of Asturias, Spain

  1. So, how did you like the Sidra? I had one that was awesome and made me curious why Sida is said to be so tart and astringent when this one wasn’t. Then I tried a U.S. cider which was said to be similar to Sidra that was literally undrinkable as it was so tart and astringent. So I’m curious if I should try any more or if they aren’t for me… I do love cider though!

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    • This Sidra was somewhat bitter — nothing like American cider which is much sweeter. As I noted, it did go well with the local sausages and blue cheese (pictured). My guess is that Sidra, like European and American beers, has a wide range of styles and flavors, all called “Sidra” (or “beer”).

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      • Thanks for the info! Sidra is often said to be the least initially likable of the well-defined cider varieties. I think your guess is right-on, although it is technically a defined style with certain characteristics.

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