I’m very excited to announce that I’m moving to Asturias … in like 2 weeks! I know it may seem sudden, but it really isn’t. At the start of 2016, I renewed my teaching contract to stay another year in Spain. And I found out back in May that I was going to be teaching in this region next year rather than La Rioja.
This was exciting news and all. But between the end of the school year, a visit from my mom and her cousin, Lori, and fulfilling my obligations with private lessons, I wasn’t able to get out to see the city until the last week in June. This didn’t stop me from browsing all of the apartments on Idealista and dreaming of finding a better place than we had this year – wahhh.
And then, I found one! It’s ours starting August 1st. And all it took to get it was two trips to Asturias (4 hours away by car, 6 hours by public transport). The first one was a bust, as none of the landlords were available to show the places I’d found when Chris and I were there doing NIE paperwork. The second one, Chris hopped an overnight bus to make two showings, fell in love with a place, went on a wild ride with our future landlord to all the sidrerias in town, stayed overnight unexpectedly, and signed the paperwork the next day.
I am thankful for the sacrifices his liver made, because we have a place near the center of downtown, with a balcony, OVERLOOKING THE CATHEDRAL! I die.
Avilés – It’s the third-largest and third-most important city in Asturias behind Oviedo and Gijon. I know, that pretty much sounds like third-best. But I’m very excited about it. We had originally hoped to move to Oviedo, but the world works in mysterious ways.
Avilés is much smaller than Oviedo or nearby Gijón, and it’s known as an industrial city with one of the largest old towns. Our visit confirmed that it looks kind of industrial at the outskirts, but the downtown is really quaint and pretty.
What I was most impressed by was the number of people milling around on a Thursday at noon! Loads of people were walking around the shopping district and sitting outside at cafés. I hope this is a sign of what’s to come, and not just the result of summer tourist season.
But even more exciting is the fact that it’s one town from the coast. Our apartment in Avilés is only 5k from the beach in Salinas, which means I can jog there and go swimming and paddleboarding and hell – maybe even surf?
Why am I so pumped?
1. I will be teaching in two schools (colegios) IN Avilés.
I was worried that this year, karma would catch up to me. Because I was so lucky with my school placements in Logroño and could easily walk to both of them, I thought I’d probably end up in two far-away pueblos and spending hours on the bus every day. But – no! The schools are a bit further apart, but not far enough to necessitate taking the bus. That means another year without having to commute a long distance to work. My third year in a row of walking to work. Hallelujah!
2. And so will Chris
The super good news is, Chris’ schools are both in the city, too. So he will also get to walk to work. This year in La Rioja, he had one school in Logroño and another in a pueblo called Cenicero. To get to the second one, he had to take a 45-minute bus ride. And I know that’s not a bad commute compared to some teachers here, but it was still a drag for him.
3. The mountains & hiking
If you talk about Asturias with someone from Spain, they all say it’s beautiful country. On the ‘cote verde’ of Spain, it’s nothing like the olive-grove deserts in Andalucia. It’s full of emerald coastlines and turquoise waters and jagged-rock mountains called the Picos de Europa. In Asturias, we’re much more connected to hiking trails and outdoor activities, which is something I really miss.
One of my secret struggles in living in La Rioja is that we really haven’t been able to hike and camp as much as I expected. We have the gear, we know there are places to see, but the connections are bad. It’s hard to find public transportation to areas where there are trailheads. And if there is a bus that goes to these out-of-the-way pueblos, population 35, it only runs one route on the weekends at the wrong time completely. So basically, we’ve been stuck. And I can’t wait to get back out there next year.
So that’s the news! I’ll make sure to update with more pictures as soon as we get there, and share about what it’s like in Asturias.