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Asturian harbours

Gijón is a town where history and the future come together. It can be considered as the maritime and tourist capital of Asturias and has a festive atmosphere all year round.

Its history goes back to the time of the Romans as its Roman baths and its recently discovered fragments of town walls bear witness to. On a walk through the town we can see some of the old buildings which have beheld its long past and take a walk through its old quarter where one can see the Valdés Palace dates back to the 16th century, although it was altered in subsequent centuries. The house of the Jove-Hevia family and the emblematic Revillagigedo Palace, attached to the collegiate church of San Juan date back to the 17th century. The Municipal Court House is 18th century, as is the palace of the Nava family.

The house where Jovellanos was born, in the Cimadevilla district, is now a museum. The Barjola Museum has been installed in the former palace and chapel of La Trinidad, whose facade has been preserved. Other museums which can be visited in the town are the Evaristo Valle Foundation and the Ethnographical Museum and the Bagpipe Museum, both of which are in the Pueblo de Asturias.

One should not leave Gijón without first having taken a stroll along the Muro de San Lorenzo (the promenade) or sat in one of the terrace cafés of the Calle Corrida. The town is also the seat of the International Trade Fair of Asturias and has a marina in its inner harbour. This marina has almost 200 mooring berths for vessels up to 14 metres in length and with a draught of up to three and a half metres. Its facilities include a sailing school, workshops, a dockyard, guarding of boats during the winter, weather information, fuel, water, electricity, storerooms, laundry, showers and toilets.

We can appreciate the beautiful scenery of the town and its surroundings from the vantage points of La Providencia, Alto del Infanzón, Santa Catalina Promontory and Campa de Torres.

We take the AS-19 out of the town and then take the turning which will lead us to the lovely fishing village of Candás.

This town with its intense seafaring past has retained its character and has many secluded litt1e squares. The Church of San Félix contains the statue of the highly-revered Christ of Candás who, according to legend, brought the sea to the town. One must not miss a visit to the Antón Museum, dedicated to the Candás sculptor. In August the Festival of the Sardine is celebrated here and all year round you can sample typical marañueles, a delicious biscuit.

From Candás we can take the turning off to the Church of Piedeloro which retains part of its Romanesque structure and an interesting pre-Gothic chancel. We then continue on to Luanco, one of the most important summer resorts for the Asturians. Its 18th century church and the nearby palace of the Menéndez-Pola family are reminders of its past.

From Luanco we go on to Cape Peñas, where the wind blows with enormous strength and from where the views of the Asturian coast are very impressive. We then go on to Verdicio and then Avilés.

This town, in spite of being renowned for its industrial appearance, contains an appealing and very noteworthy old quarter. Its Romanesque churches of San Nicolás de Bari (the one of the fathers), Santo Tomás de Canterbury, the Convent of San Francisco, the Baroque Rivero and Galiana Streets. Its Town Hall, the 19th century new suburbs, the Square of los hermanos Orbón, with the covered market of Las Aceñas, Las Meanas Park, the Palacio Valdés Theatre and the recent Casa de Cultura with its interesting architecture, all vie with one another in capturing the interest of the visitor. Those who are more romantic can pay a visit to the lovely La Carriona graveyard with its beautiful pantheons and marble sculptures.

Apart from all this, the town always appears willing to provide a festive mood. It celebrates Easter with the Fiesta del Bollu, and the Carnaval with a parade along Galiana Street with floats and street bands and the burial of the sardine, and all the year round you can stroll along the streets (particularly Rivero and Galiana Streets) and stop off at the numerous bars, pubs and restaurants. From Avilés we can visit the nearby beach of Salinas, a holiday resort since the last century and which conserves some of its old villas and summer residences.

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