Recently I’ve told people that I’m living in Oviedo, Spain for the month of August. “Where is that?” they reply. It seems that Oviedo is less heard of than other towns in Spain. The town is located in the Northern region of Asturias. It is part of the country known as “green Spain” and tends to be less-known than the popular holiday areas of the southern coast. It lies on the rugged Northern coast along the Atlantic Ocean and is a lush green mountainous part of the country that boasts dramatic sea cliffs along its shores.
One of the most fascinating characteristics of Asturias is the Celtic influence in its culture and history. It goes very far back, ages into ancient times before even the Romans conquered the area. Northern Spain was settled by Celtic Peoples during the Bronze Age. Hmmmm…I’ve always loved that my background is a mix of Irish from my father’s side and Spanish from my mother’s side…this must be why. It goes back to my roots.
Today I was walking through the San Francisco Park in Oviedo when I heard drums beating and bagpipes playing. I wasn’t sure why I would be hearing bagpipes in Spain…so I followed the sound to a plaza where locals were dressed in the historic clothing and playing traditional music. It sounded just like Celtic music. It looked like Celtic costumes. And the dances they were performing were Celtic dances. I was not mistaken…it was definitely all Celtic.
It is amazing to me how these cultures are linked and their influence on each other has lasted hundreds and thousands of years. Other areas of Spain also share this strong Celtic heritage, like the neighboring region of Galicia and areas of Portugal. These Northern terrains are mountainous, green and lush. Weather is humid and cool with pleasant temperatures and rain showers in the summers and snow in the winters.
This is my third time to Oviedo and on past trips I’ve had the opportunity to visit smaller villages in the country. Visiting Tineo and Tuna I saw ruins from Romanic and pre-Romanic times and emblems can be found in the architecture that resembles Celtic design and style. I’ve heard some of the older generations say, in all seriousness too, that Celtic blood mixed with Spanish blood makes for quite the Gypsy…there is something mysterious and even magical about the combination. And I think it has to do with the history of the two cultures and their first culmination ages ago. Maybe that’s why I have this insatiable desire for travel and to wander throughout new and different places as I do…the Gypsy is in my blood.
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/46932336 w=500&h=281]