First I would like to thank the lovely Danielle for the feature on her wonderful blog and the opportunity to introduce this city that I love to you.
Now, about me: my name is Frédérique. I'm a 25 years old French gal who followed her dearest to Gijon a town in Spain in a region called Asturias...which is quite an adventure when you don't speak a word of Spanish.
So here's Gijon:
I immediately fell in love with the city and the region when I got there. It's not the most touristic area of Spain so still well preserved. What I love about it is that it is a city really attached to it's tradition but also very welcoming. We've only been here for 6 months but I love the city a little more everyday.
One thing I like very much are the people. They can seem boor from the outside but are really the nicest persons in the world. They would do anything for you and are really welcoming. So maybe they don't say "hello" everytime you go in a store, or forget to say please, but as for me that's not a biggie.
Top 5 things to do in Gijon:
1. Take a walk!
There are so many breathtaking views. I'm truly in love with the landscape in Asturias. It is very green, the sea is cold but you have the most beautiful cliffs, the countryside is so pretty and preserved and great beaches of course.There are lots of walks to make, parks to visit. It's absolutely beautiful. Plus, the mountains are really close and you can have a guide take you listen to the call of the deer (never done it but I've heard it's great but early in the morning :)
2. Eat in a merendero:
Merendero is the spanish word for pic-nic. The merenderos are a kind of restaurants where you can eat on wooden tables outside. The food is mostly typical tapas (great cheese, typical ham, salad...) and off course sidra! It's really a must do since you get really close to the locals that way, all the people eat near each other, talk and share. People will probably come talk to you ask you were you are from. They will show you how to pour the cider if you don't do it right, but don't get upset if they seem to scold you it's how they talk (took me month to realize that). It's really pleasant, and the kids get to play nearby.
3. Come during the "Fiesta de la sidra natural":
This festival takes place at the end of august and it celebrates the typical cider from the region but also the traditions of Asturias (singing, dancing, music). I thought this cider smelled like feet at first but once you get used to it, you can drink it like water! There is a certain way to pour it called "escanciar" (see picture) and you have to drink it bottoms. During this week-end, all the city is full of cider sellers who make you taste so basically the whole town is in the streets, drunk. So much fun and still a great spirit.It's great to see people so proud of their culture and eager to share it with us, it isn't only about the cider but the whole asturian culture. The best time for me was when hundreds of people started to sing miners songs, gave me the shills.
4. Visit Cudillero
Cuidllero is a little fishermen village near Gijon (I know it isn't Gijon but still, sooo pretty!). It is very typical an hasn't much changed in decades. The houses are built on the mountainside and it is so beautiful, it's really a thing not to miss if your are in Asturias. You can eat near the port, a three course menu with a bottle of wine for 12 euros (15 dollars) and lots of great seafood.
5. Spend an evening on Playa Espana
It's a beach near Gijon (10min) who is really known for it's parties. So all the night bugs go there and there are big concerts near the beach. The ambience is laid back and nice.
Earlier in the day you can go eat in small restaurants near the beach, in France they are called "Paillottes" they don't have much choise and you should'nt go too well dressed but the ambience is unique.
I could still go on and on! I hope I've made you wanna know more about the city and maybe even visit it. I'm sure you would love it.