Friday, May 23, 2014

Gijón & Cimadevilla on Spain's Asturian Coast

The city of Gijón, nestled on Spain's sunny Asturian coast, is embraced by the magnificent Bay of Biscay which has defined the history of the city for over 5,000 years. Cimadevilla, the oldest and most charming part of the city, was built on the ruins of where a Roman settlement once stood and has kept alive its Roman past through the restored thermal baths of Campo Valdés dating from the late 1st Century AD. Overlooking the attractive seafront and picturesque marina, the old town is dominated by the impressive 17th-century Revillagigedo Palace, a magnificent marriage of neo-Baroque and Renaissance architecture, living proof of the occupation that took place in the city during the Middle Ages. Up a gentle slope to the hilltop of Cimadevilla is Cerro de Santa Catalina, a large park which overlooks the sea with a sheer drop to the churning waters below. The park also features an abstract sculpture called 'Elogio del Horizonte', a monumental work by artist Eduardo Chillida, and has become one of Gijon’s landmarks.

The 17th-century Revillagigedo Palace is the most impressive building in Gijon,
a mix of neo-Baroque and neo-Renaissance styles

Detail of the fountain at the base of the monument to Don Pelayo, which stands in front of the Revillagigedo Palace

The 12th-century Church of San Juan Bautista 

Architectural detail of the Revillagigedo Palace

Market Day in Cimadevilla

Local Asturian cheese

Fresh local sausages

Vacuum packed and ready to be tucked into our luggage to take home

Fresh squeezed orange juice for just one euro

An old Roman archways leading from the arcaded Plaza Mayor with the city hall

The old city hall

The 15th-century Igreja de São Pedro

The Roman Baths — Termas Romans de Campo Valdes — were built at the end of the first century AD and are considered the largest and most important Roman ruins in Spain. Portions of the baths sit under the park outside Igreja de São Pedro, which overlooks beautiful San Lorenzo beach.

A bronze statue of Ocatvia Augustus, who built the Roman Baths in the 1st century

The San Lorenzo Beach

The picturesque San Lorenzo Beach waterfront

A father, son and little puppy take a stroll along the San Lorenzo waterfront promenade 

A bathing grotto with the Royal Astur Yacht Club in the background, the oldest and most important yacht club in Asturias, established in 1911 by King Alfonso XIII of Spain 

A series of well worn stone steps lead down into the swimming grotto, 
the perfect spot for a cool dip in the chilly Bay of Biscay

The Parque La Atalaya with views over the town's port and coastline, with the enormous sculpture Eduardo Chillida's 'Eulogy to the Horizon'

Eduardo Chillida's 'Eulogy to the Horizon'

A small park with aromatic flowering shrubs surround the Parque La Atalaya

View over the ocean from the park

Gijón Tortilla de Patatas
Serves 4

6 whole eggs
4 large potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 small green pepper, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups of olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed non stick frying pan. Fry the potatoes gently for about 10 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the chopped onion and green pepper and cook for a further four minutes. Using a large sieve, strain the potatoes. Mix the eggs in a clean bowl and add the potatoes. Season to taste. Then heat a spoonful of the olive oil in a frying pan and add the egg mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook until golden brown on the bottom. Place a large saucepan lid over the mixture and carefully turn the tortilla over. Return to the frying pan and cook slowly until the tortilla is firm in the middle. Slide the tortilla on to a large plate. Leave the tortilla to rest for 10 minutes before serving as a tapas, by slicing into small bite size squares.

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