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A travel article by Daniel Clifford.

Visiting the city of Gijón is a great way to begin an adventure into the rural countryside of northern Spain. Gijón is a mid-sized city of about 270,000 people with all the comforts of being modern while displaying a historical taste of the region of Asturias surrounding it.
More information on Gijón:
A visit to the helpful tourist office
Cerro de Santa Catalina
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Above photo - Gijón; to see one arm of the port encompassing La Playa De San Lorenzo in a panoramic view, click here.
Gijón began as a fishing village nearly 3,000 years ago, according to the records of the Campa Torres Archaeological and Nature Reserve in Gijón. Today the city is an important port on the Atlantic coast of Spain.

The historic fishing village known as Cimadevilla is located on a peninsula that divides the port in half. The village is the main tourist attraction of the city.

Capilla de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad in Cimadevilla, built in 1674.
Most of the streets are cobblestone and barely two cars wide. Many of the buildings have been renovated to display the colorful life of the village. Those that have not are evidence of centuries of construction designed to withstand the powerful forces of the Atlantic.

A hike up the hill and through Cimadevilla leads to Cerro de Santa Catalina. It is a park on the tip of the penisula that provides a view of the outstretched coastline forming the port. On the very edge of the penisula is a sculpture the size of a house, Eligio del Horizonte, or Praise of the Horizon. It is one of 16 large sculptures placed in public spaces throughout the city over the last decade.

Eligio del Horizonte--Praise of the Horizon--located at Cerro de Santa Catalina, sculpted by Eduardo Chillida from concrete in 1990.
A brief look out to sea and the numerous cargo ships bring back the present. The busy commercial port is to the left. The port authority building not only houses plenty of information about the port, but also one of the cleanest public restrooms in Europe, at least at this time of the year.

To the right is Playa de San Lorenzo, the main beach of the city, which in summer becomes very busy too. During spring the Atlantic brings cold nights, rainy mornings for the city, and snow for the mountains nearby. By afternoon, though, the clouds break off from the sea and the sun shines, urging everything on toward summer.

Turn around, and a view of the city lies out beneath some of the greenest hills in Spain. The region of Asturias is known in Spain for its greenness. At first mention of traveling to the area, Spaniards all gasp and exclaim at its beauty.

To get the most out of a visit to the area, my recommendation is to stop in at the local tourist office, also in the port.

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Information on this page is from Daniel Clifford's March 2004 visit to Gijón Spain.
Gijón photographs and text © 2004 by Daniel Clifford.

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