Thursday, 14 May 2009

A stroll through Asturias

When accepting Nigel and Joann’s invitation to write an entry for their Hotel Blog, I began to wonder what I had taken on and why. The why bit came easily. It was several years ago (6 to be precise), when we first came to Asturias and stayed as guests at the Hotel Posada del Valle – 6 years since we first fell in love with Asturias and all it had to offer – so much so we now live here permanently. The hotel was a great base for exploring and experiencing Asturias and the Picos de Europa mountains. Nestled on the side of a magnificent valley with the Suave mountain range as a backdrop, who could fail to be impressed with the stunning scenery and landscapes.
Asturias prides itself, and markets itself on the concept of being a “natural paradise” that incorporates lush, wooded valleys, majestic mountain ranges, lowland and mountain pastures and unspoilt beaches and coastline – each offering a unique and rich tapestry of wild fauna and flora. Now what to write about?

There is no doubt that the “Natural Paradise” is a great place in which to live, work and holiday however, there are other aspects of Asturias that don’t often get the recognition they deserve – the people, their customs and their history. Of course, Asturias enjoys the trappings and benefits of modern life with cities such as Oviedo, Gijon and Aviles, busy commercial centres are never that far away - but not too distant, is a way of life that is more gentile and less pressured – a way of life that harks back to the days of the extended family, communities coming together and a shared sense of belonging.
Asturias enjoys a rich calendar of customs and practices, traditions and rituals and fiestas and celebrations – a way of life that is often to be envied in this busy and challenging world.Whilst you are visiting Asturias, I would urge you to slow down and take a leisurely stroll through Asturias – slow down and take time to experience the life and soul of Asturias.

A stroll on which you will often experience sights and sounds that have faded in modern society: young and old working together tending family vegetable plots; local farmers scything grass and loading it onto horse-drawn carts for cattle fodder; a village gathering to celebrate a religious tradition or harvest - complete with traditional dress and communal feasts; artists and craftsmen busying their time making useful artefacts such as clogs, stools and baskets; skilled musicians with traditional instruments and rousing rhythms; story tellers and dancers keeping times gone by, alive and fresh in the minds of the young; traditional games being played in village squares; mixes of generations gathering away from the heat of the day to chatter, play, laugh and share their stories.

In every village, on every corner, in market squares, in a working field or in the shade of ancient chestnut trees there are stories to be heard, pictures to paint, memories to cherish and times for reflection. Make the most of your visit, take time to acknowledge these people – share their culture, enjoy their celebrations, have a great holiday and enjoy a gentle stroll through the life and loves of the people of Asturias.

Entry written by Ian Hicken.


Sergio said...

Nice, sweet and deep words about the essence of Asturias that invite all of us to enjoy it!
It has been a pleasure to read them.

Best regards, dear friends!


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed =)


Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.