The weekend in Oviedo was wonderful — with lots of new sights and people, and marginally cooler weather. We drove up from Madrid on Friday afternoon, and had managed to get all of 40 minutes away when the engine temp light came on. It was 102F outside, we were climbing a long grade, and the air conditioning was on, so it’s not surprising that the poor Yaris protested. To be on the safe side, we switched the a/c off. And left it off for four more hours. It was too late and we were too tired to do anything when we got in to town but collapse. (Though I ate a plateful of octopus first. Yum!)

Rialto, home of the Moscovita

On Saturday, Mr. Pants suggested breakfast at Rialto, home of many delicious and slightly frightening sweet treats (e.g., carbayones, which are puff-pastry shells filled with ground almond and sweet wine paste and covered with a cinnamon glaze). I had a croissant — carbayones are NOT breakfast food! It was one of the best I’ve eaten lately, made with real butter. On the way out, I picked up some of their famous candies, called “Moscovitas,” for certain people to be visited later this month.

Rialto’s tea-room is just the way it’s always been.

After breakfast, Mr. Pants went for a run, and I took my camera for a walk around town. First stop, Plaza de la Escandalera, to see the pipers and dancers who plague grace Oviedo on the weekends.

The junior piper is about 10 — probably had a chanter in his hands right after birth!

Oviedo is part of the Celtic region of Spain, and its musical tradition has a lot in common with Brittany, Ireland, and Scotland. That includes pipes, and lots of them. They were everywhere!

These guys were all over the center of town — I ran into them three times!

After my bagpipe fix, I headed for the Cathedral. There was a group of dancers in the plaza, who, when I got there, were patiently posing for photos with a large group of tourists. Finally, they got down to business!

This way…

And that…

Those costume are nearly all wool — and it was 90F! Talk about dedication to preserving the folkways… I was so enthralled by the dancing that I forgot to take any pictures of the Cathedral. Fortunately, I found my way back later.

The spire is unbelievably lacy… and so beautiful against the blue sky.

I also wandered through the Fontán area, where the market is. In addition to the wrought-iron structure built at the end of the 19th century, on Saturdays there are vendors outside. You can get pretty much anything.

From fresh veggies…

…to unmentionables!

By this point, Mr. Pants had run and showered, and it was time for an aperitivo in the shade. I’d already found a likely spot, where he met me for a beer. Oviedo is on the Camino de Santiago, and we saw plenty of pilgrims. There was a couple doing the Camino at the table next to us. They looked happy to be sitting down!

Give me my scallop shell of quiet, my staff of faith to walk upon, my scrip of faith, immortal diet, my bottle of salvation, my gown of glory, hope’s true gauge, and thus I’ll take my pilgrimage. (Walter Raleigh)

From our first stop, we went on to a different place for fried sardines (bocartes) topped with fried Serrano ham. I fell on them like a ravening beast, hence no photo.

Hurrah for the blue linen dress!

Mr. Pants took over the camera and posed me in the little street where he was born. That’s the blue linen Hot Patterns shift dress I made and pretty much live in. I whipped a second one up right before we left, and managed to get it into the suitcase. (Stay tuned for the reveal.)

After lunch and a long nap, we drove to the beach to visit my friend Mar, who has a summer house in a village called La Isla. We poked around and hiked along the headland before having a much-appreciated G and T on Mar’s terrace. As so often happens on the Rhode Island side of the Atlantic, the fog had rolled in and cooled things down.


Then it was back to Oviedo for dinner and into bed, since there was plenty planned for Sunday…