Sharpening Knives, Spain

While in Oviedo, Spain, I spotted this fellow sharpening knives outside a popular restaurant.

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His bicycle powered grinding wheel was quite fascinating, providing both transportation and the means to conduct his business. While I watched, a waiter took one of the knives in to the chef and then returned to request more work on it. Low-tech for sure, yet very functional. Impressive in its utility and economy. Such is life in Spain. Always interesting.

Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Spain

Located near Oviedo, Spain,  Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, ensconces you in the kind of upscale experience that you will never forget.

Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

The building is a modern interpretation of a castle with all the modern conveniences.

Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

From the moment you enter the reception area, you know you are in a special place:

Central foyer Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Ovideo, Spain.

Central foyer Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Ovideo, Spain.

My stay was in a standard room that was far and above standard.

Room at Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

Room at Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

The bed in the photo above is one of the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in. The bathroom you see next came with Bulgari toiletries.

Bathroom at Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

Bathroom at Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

The double sink makes it easy to get ready for that special evening out. On the main level you’ll find several dining rooms, including this one:

Dining room at Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

Dining room at Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

As well as a very pleasant bar:

Bar at Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

Bar at Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

Perhaps the most enticing feature is the spa where you can enjoy all the body rejuvenating treatments you’d like or just relax in the pool:

Spa at Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

Spa at Hotel Castillo Bosque de la Zoreda, Oviedo, Spain.

Staff here are professional in every way. They gave me excellent directions into the center of Oviedo, including the best places to park as well as suggestions for sights to see and restaurants. The information was spot on. Since this hotel is located just a few kilometers away from Oviedo, please follow the directions carefully. It is worth the short journey for a charming experience.

 

 

La Consistorial, Oviedo, Spain

La Consistorial is one of those great little bars that I’m constantly looking for while traveling.

La Consistorial, Oviedo, Spain.

La Consistorial, Oviedo, Spain.

It’s on the far edge of the plaza in the heart of Oviedo Spain. A few tables outside as you see above, and some more inside, all populated by regulars.

Interior, La Consistorial, Oviedo, Spain.

Interior, La Consistorial, Oviedo, Spain.

There was a little sign that said tapas made to order so please be patient, that type of thing. I thought to myself that’s a good indicator of quality and took a seat. While catching bits of conversation from around the room, I perused the offerings and made my selection. The lady behind the bar slipped away and produced some very fine tapas.

Tapas at La Consistorial, Oviedo, Spain.

Tapas at La Consistorial, Oviedo, Spain.

In the photo above you see a crab salad with an anchovy, a little bocadillo, then a four cheese version with a bit of marmalade. Very tasty stuff here and super fresh. Of course another round had to be enjoyed.

Fresh tapas at La Consistorial, Oviedo, Spain.

Fresh tapas at La Consistorial, Oviedo, Spain.

This time it was the salmon with cream cheese, and a jamón, peppers, and egg. Of course the freshness made all the difference. I chatted with the bartender/cook/operator of this place. We discussed the difference between fast food culture in the USA and Spain. If you’re careful, you can actually find reasonably priced “fast food” in the form of these tapas for a price that isn’t significantly more than a garbage fast food meal typical to the USA. I’d much rather have the tapas in a place as unique as this than some meal out of bag at the drive-thru window. Enjoy every meal and find the good ones!

 

Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain

For many years, I looked at photos of Santa María del Naranco, the church that stands on a hill a few miles outside of Oviedo, Spain. It’s not the grandest of buildings but it does represent a significant example of pre-Romanesque architecture.

Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain.

Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain.

It was build in the 800’s, and to have remained standing all these years is testament to the ingenuity of it’s masons. The detailed carving is quite impressive as well:

Detail of entrance to Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain.

Detail of entrance to Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain.

When you visit this site, wear sturdy shoes and bring a bottle of water. The climb from the parking lot to the church is a steep grade over a paved path. The view from this hill can be astounding on a clear day as you see from the panoramic photo below. Click on it for full size:

View from Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain.

View from Santa María del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain.

I was glad to have finally seen this place in person. It was a bit of exercise, but worth the effort. While traveling, sometimes its not the most popular or largest of site, but rather the smaller more poignant ones that make the biggest impression.