Recalibrating in Asturias, Spain

What do you think of when you think of Spain? Infinite beaches, sun, bulls, paella and seafood, flamenco and guitars, Moorish architecture, a variety of art, sailboats, sangrias… quite a list eh? But obviously, there is more. And it is different. Very unique. And remote.

Let’s start for now, with one of them. I just spent the last few weeks there and it was a very special experience. I didn’t have too much time to read up about it. Nor did I plan in detail. But that sense of mystery kept expectations at bay. 

There are so many reflections, learnings, and feelings that this land evoked in me and has made me grateful. This is Asturias. In fact along with Cantabria, it is one of the most bio-diverse regions of Spain. 

This was the part of Spain that was among the last to have been conquered by the Romans and even the Muslim armies were unsuccessful and, in fact, it is because of this, that the whole Spanish reconquest of the peninsula was forged. 

Here, as cliched a statement as it might seem, time seems to stand still. I was truly able to let go of the past few months, and I felt unperturbed by what is yet to come. Unspoilt landscapes – everywhere, with the greenest valleys, such ancient forts and archaeological treasures, paintings and art from prehistory, channels and tunnels, trails over mountains with shepherds and herds of goats and cows that lead to villages in the most unexpected corners, buzzing forests with bears and wolves and forests that seem like they came out of a faery tale – everything is a spark for our imagination. No wonder Asturias is a land of great writers too! 

There is old magic in the air that you can feel and see everywhere! Whether you join the majestic eagles, paragliding over its lush ancient forests, rocky mountains, or ancient necropoli, or you track dinosaur prints and Jurassic fossils along the coast, whether you surf or relax at the beaches or you try to track bears and wolves, respectfully, from a distance, whether you get deep into very magical forests or into damp caves where the Cabrales and Gamoneu cheeses ferment away or you hike beside sage rivers and old towering rock towers in Los Picos de Europa,on paths that are reminiscent of middle earth, this ancient kingdom, of legend, traditions, mythological stories and beings, today is also a place of great gastronomy and a great example in how nature seems almost undisturbed and respected by mankind. 

Talking of gastronomy – Asturias’ cider houses, pots of simmering stews and fabadas, freshest seafood, crunchy pastries, delicious preserves, strong cheeses, and barbecued meats with just a pinch of salt – not only reflects the topography of the land, but also the humbleness of the people and their gratitude to what the land provides. 

Asturias challenges your body, your mind and yet it makes you feel at home, comfortable amongst its forests and hills, rivers and mountains. We took many narrow winding roads up to steep coasts or hills that gave us award-winning views or surprised us with award-deserving restaurants. 

Constantly a reminder that the path might not always be a familiar one, nor an easy one, but what it brings you to and what you get along the way is the most rewarding. No expectations. No fear. Just an open mind and heart. 

And then there is the North Atlantic Sea~ it gives you strength and reassurance in its swells and clear cool depths. 

On this journey, I have met like-minded people, warm and welcoming. People who are keen to preserve the way of the natural land, the way of life and culture and then learn more. People with open and curious minds. Being here reinforces my belief in the strength and power of human connections to create space and hope for a more regenerative and responsible future. 

If you like to hike and you enjoy gastronomy, to recalibrate in Asturias.