Exiting the ship in Gijon (pronounced Hee-hawn), there was a local dance troupe and band playing traditional local music.
It was amazing to be greeted and welcomed with smiling locals who are happy to have us here!
The local military police administered a temperature test and a squirt of hand sanitizer before our walk to the bus and then another squirt of sanitizer just before boarding, and then we were on the way! They definitely were not cutting corners regarding Covid safety.
Our tour guide explained that, the beaches in Gijon are small and nestled in tiny coves throughout the area. Mountains surround Gijon, and are the largest in the area, w/ many over 2000 feet above sea level. The weather is very temperate all year long and today was no exception.
The day started as overcast, with a little fog on the horizon, and very pleasant temperatures.
The itinerary today is a walking tour with coffee and local treats in Gijon, then another walking tour in Aviles for tapas and cider. Should be interesting and I will try to keep my expectations in check.
Starting in Gijon, we were able to check out local architecture and street art. What an absolutely beautiful place to build a photography or model portfolio!
I highly recommend bringing your “good” camera to capture some canvas/wall worthy shots.
After walking through this stunning, artsy district we stopped for the strongest coffee I’ve ever had and some donuts at a local market. My only complaint is the space they had our group squeezed in to was not really adequate for our group size.
It was almost like this place was an after thought on the tour plan or our guide forgot to make reservations ahead of time. Many in our group did not get what they ordered, so I was thankful that my coffee and pastries arrived!
Then we boarded the bus and headed to Aviles. It was about a 30-minute drive and after that coffee, I was certainly ready for the Tapas!
First off, Aviles, Spain is a magical place filled with gorgeous artwork, architecture, and glorious FOOD.
Secondly, it is a very scenic area that is Celtic as opposed to Mediterranean, Spain. I find it very interesting that so many areas in Spain are Celtic in nature. To learn more about this fascinating history of Celtic Iberian culture, I highly recommend reading this article from Celtic Life International.
We had Tapas at a local and somewhat famous cider house named Tierra Astur. This place is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend. There is a fabulously stocked market at the front of the restaurant where you can pick up snacks for a picnic later.
Once inside, past the market we were whisked upstairs to the main dining area. Everything about this place screams relaxed man cave artsy, as evidenced by the photos below.
Take note though, the cider here is NOT a typical American or English cider. It actually tastes more like apple cider vinegar. The unique pouring is what gives it the effervescence or bubbles.
There is a moderate amount of alcohol in the cider, so be careful, it does sneak up on you and can cause you to have a really fun time!
After the Tapas and a few ciders, we took a stroll around the neighborhood. It was pretty quiet due to Covid still surging in this area at the time (October 2021) but, we were able to check out the street art, which is magnificent!
To note (for photographers), the colors in this area are just phenomenal. All pictures posted here are straight from the camera with no retouches or filters. It’s like “golden hour” all day long! I also found the street art to be downright textural in nature.
This was an incredible shore excursion that I felt gave us a taste of cultural immersion. I look forward to our next adventure in this area!
*Disclaimer: I may have mixed up a couple of photos between Gijon and Aviles. The Cider was strong and my notes got less reliable towards the end of the day!