If we were to tell you that Asturias is a natural paradise, full of enchanting locations, where it rains quite a bit and is in the North of Spain, we wouldn’t really be telling you anything new. So, let that be the last time we mention just how beautiful it really is. I mean, we already know that this region will win your heart over all by itself; so, instead, we’d like to share some interesting facts about it and its glorious inhabitants, the Asturians, with you.
1. Local Asturian-isms
If an Asturian wants to say they “like” something, they say they “lend” it (le presta). They also don’t “knock” on the door, they merely “sting” (pica) it. In Asturias it rains a lot, but people don’t say they’re “getting wet”, they say they are “leaking” or “dripping” (pingando).And every sentence will end with the sound “ho”. If you head out on the town with Asturians and you hear “vamos a entamala”, prepare yourself, because you’re in for a great night. It does mean “we’ll drink everything, even the water meant for the flowers” after all. The following day, you’ll probably hear “quedó estrapayau” meaning “shattered” or “exhausted”.
Get studying these expressions because if you’re not following what someone is saying to you, they’ll utter something like “itas atopau”, or “you’re not getting any of this!”
2. The flag and the Victory Cross
Asturians have a strong love for their land and their flag, and the flag itself is loaded with meaning. The Greek letters alpha and omega appear on both sides of the cross, known as the Victory Cross, to signify “beginning” and “end” and are understood to refer to the infinite nature of God. The Victory Cross itself is a Latin cross made of oak and is displayed in the Cathedral of San Salvador in Oviedo. It was donated to the Cathedral by King Alfonso III at the beginning of the 10th Century. The inscription found on its reverse side is “Hoc signo tvetvr pivs. Hocsigno vincitvr inmicvs”, which means “with this symbol, he who is devout is protected. With this symbol, he who is the enemy is defeated.”
Asturians also have their own language, known as bable, although only around 20% of the population speaks it. In the past, bable was spoken across the modern-day principality, as well as the neighbouring provinces of Leon and Zamora, however over time it has only remained in Asturias itself. Its use is slowly falling into decline, but it’s now up to the Asturian people to not let it disappear once and for all.
4. The smallest beach in the world
Asturias has 345 kilometres of coastline and over 300 coves and beaches. Among them is Playa de Gulpiyuri, considered to be the smallest beach in the world as well as a natural monument. The beach itself is only around 50 metres long! Formed as a result of the eroding effect of the sea against the rocks, the beach is located between the towns of Llanes and Ribadesella. And, if it weren’t special enough, Playa de Gulpiyuri is also an inland beach, located around 100 metres inland from the Cantabrian Sea.
5. Asturias, patria querida
Asturias’ famous anthem, which translates to “my dear Fatherland”, was composed in 1926 by a Cuban musician named Ignacio Piñeiro. Piñeiro was the founder of the Cuban group, “el Septeto Nacional” (The National Septet) and his compositions are some of the best examples of the son cubano style. He composed “Asturias, patria querida” in honour of his father, who was Asturian by birth.
6. The queen of cheeses
Asturias has the greatest variety of cheeses of any region in Europe, with over forty different varieties. Although they too have felt the effects of the economic crisis rather heavily, Asturian cheeses still reign supreme over the sector thanks to their exceptional quality and the region’s tradition for cattle rearing. The famous cabrales cheese after all was the first Asturian cheese to achieve a “Designation of Origin” back in 1981.
7. Cachopo, fabes and cider
Food and drink in Asturias is both great and consumed in great quantity! One dish named cachopo is made up of two large fillets of veal that are placed together with ham and cheese in between. The veal is coated in breadcrumbs, before being fried and eaten hot.
Fabes also known as fabada asturiana is another standout dish in Asturias’ superb cuisine. It’s a rich bean stew, usually prepared with chorizo and blood sausage and is, without a doubt, a key part of an Asturian winter diet!
And the most important thing… a drop of cider is welcome at any time of the day!