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Gijón Datasheet
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Ouroboros Offline
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Post: #1
Gijón Datasheet
Outline:
1. Basic facts
2. My experience
3. Food
4. Places nearby
5. Women and game

Basic facts:

Gijón (Xixón in the Asturian dialect, which the local government promotes but few in urbanised areas speak) is the most populous city – with about 280,000 inhabitants - in the Spanish Autonomous Community of Asturias, of which the capital is Oviedo. It is located on the Bay of Biscay, and has a beach (La Playa de San Lorenzo) which is commonly cited by the people of Gijon as the major reason why their city is better than Oviedo (there is something of a rivalry between the two cities). There is a Celtic influence which can be seen in the traditional Asturian Kilts and Bagpipes, making for a regional culture markedly distinct from other parts of Spain, particularly the (to tourists) more familiar Andalusian culture.

Throughout the twentieth century Gijon was the major industrial hub of Asturias, sustained by steelworks and shipyards, but the economy went into crisis mode towards the end of that century and this is clearly visible from the decaying infrastructure, poorly maintained apartment complexes, relative lack of young people compared to the elderly (many have emigrated to find employment elsewhere), and the proliferation of signs above bars saying ‘Club’ (meaning they are brothels).

One area that does seem to be doing well though (besides prostitution) is hospitality: there is a very large number of bars, cafés, pubs, restaurants and hotels to choose from.

My experience:

I spent eight months in Gijón a few years ago, teaching English in a High School there. I lived in an apartment in Cimadevilla, the fishing quarter situated on the Hill of Santa Catalina. Arguably the most architecturally attractive part of the otherwise drab industrial city, it was formerly a Roman settlement (evidence for which can be seen at the Roman Baths of Campo Valdés). It is also notably the centre of Gijón’s bar and restaurant scene.

Food

The rather hearty cuisine is suited to the climate, which is cold and wet throughout most of the year (although pleasant in summer). It features a lot of stews and soups. The most famous Asturian dish is Fabada, which has as its main ingredients beans, morcilla (Spanish black pudding) and chorizo – it looks fairly unappealing but tastes surprisingly good. There are many local varieties of cured meat and cheese. Above all the best food in Gijón is the seafood, which makes good use of local fish and shellfish.

The best deal most restaurants have is the menú del día, which varies in price from 8-15 Euros, and usually includes a three-course meal and a bottle of whatever beverage you choose (typically cider or wine). It is normally available only at very specific hours in the afternoon. For restaurants I recommend La Farola.

Cider is the main beverage here and bars are often sidrerías (bars specialising in serving cider). There is a characteristic Asturian method of pouring cider which involves pouring it from a height, which requires some practice to prevent most the cider ending up on the ground; Asturians like to playfully humiliate foreigners by encouraging them to attempt this. Tierra Astur is a famous sidrerías chain, although I prefer the more intimate local sidrerías in Cimadevilla. Wine is also cheap, and you can get a bottle of surprising good quality wine, to my admittedly unrefined palate, for 2-4 Euros.

Spanish people, although I respect their pride in their own culture, are somewhat parochial when it comes to other people’s cuisines – pretty much the only international food you can get in Gijón is Italian and Mexican. My Spanish colleagues assumed that I, as an Australian, only ate burgers and other fast food. There was one Indian restaurant and one Chinese restaurant, both of which seemed to be empty most of the time.

Places nearby

It’s easy to visit neighbouring cities/autonomous communities by bus (using ALSA) or train (using Renfe). These might include Santiago De Compostela, in nearby Galicia to the west (particularly if you’re taking the Northern route of the Camino de Santiago walk/pilgrimage), Oviedo (the historical centre of Oviedo is a nice place to go out and drink cider), or León to the south. Or anywhere in Spain since it’s such a small, well-connected country (I visited 12 other cities during my long-weekends).

Whenever I asked a Spaniard for recommendations on where to visit they generally recommended the picturesque pueblos outside of the major cities (easy to reach by bus). Cangas de Onís, once the capital of Asturias, is a particularly noteworthy one: it is where the Battle of Covadonga took place around 722, in which the Asturians won a victory against the invading Umayyad Muslim army, initiating the Reconquista. Near Cangas de Onís you can visit the Holy Cave of Covadonga, now a pilgrimage site, where ‘Our Lady of Covadonga’ (the Virgin Mary) is said to have appeared to Pelayo, the leader of the Christian Visigoths, before the battle. (Pelayo and Covadonga are both quite common names for children in Asturias, and Gijón has several statues of Pelayo)

Women and Game

Unfortunately, at the time when I was staying in Gijón I had no knowledge or experience of Game. My lack of confidence and initiative saw to it that I didn’t even contemplate approaching any girls. Although I can’t give any definitive advice on the game situation in Gijón, I can offer the following observations which may be of some use:
• For day game, the following locations may offer good opportunities: the promenade along San Lorenzo Beach, which is usually bustling with people at dusk; the Gijón campus of the University of Oviedo (in the South-East of the city), which is where most of the available young women in their early twenties study; the abundant libraries (e.g. the Biblioteca Pública Jovellanos, near Cimadevilla) have lots of young people studying; and the Cuesta del Cholo, a famous bar-lined street in Cimadevilla where groups congregate to consume cider whenever the weather is nice (infrequently in all seasons but summer)
• The annual Semana Negra festival, a literary festival celebrated in July which attracts over a million people (apparently), most of whom are probably more interested in the festival’s concerts than literature, would likely provide ample opportunities for gaming women
• Night game is unlikely to be productive due to the limited number of clubs (those which are actually dance clubs, not brothels) and the cliquish nature of Spanish people which lends itself more to social circle game
• Although there is a decent quantity of attractive young women, especially if you like short, light-skinned and thin brunettes, and particularly if you go to the places mentioned above (otherwise you might be forgiven for thinking that only old people live here), the quality was not on par with places like Madrid, Barcelona and Andalusia. I only have Australia and Western Europe to compare to, but I was blown away by how attractive the women were in Cordoba and Seville.
• On the other hand, Asturias is much less conservative than the south. Asturians think that Andalusians are excessively religious; for example the Semana Santa celebrations are massive down south but a non-event in Gijón. My flatmate, who was from León, claimed that girls from Gijón are perceived as ‘easy’ by Spanish standards. Unfortunately I cannot confirm these claims, but it may bode well for any other RVFers who venture there.
*Note on language: you will require proficient Spanish to game here since English ability is generally poor. Comprehension skills are particularly important due to the rapidity with which people speak Spanish here. Because the Asturian dialect is not generally used, the Spanish in Gijon tends to mostly conform to 'standard' Spanish taught to foreigners, and is in my view much easier to speak and understand than in most of the rest of Spain, except Madrid and Castilla y Leon.
(This post was last modified: 06-18-2017 08:04 AM by Ouroboros.)
06-18-2017 07:39 AM
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scrambled Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Gijón Datasheet
Excelente informe, though my instant thought was, upon seeing your title, this was about "Cafe Gijón"
06-18-2017 10:02 AM
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Ouroboros
BangBoy123 Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Gijón Datasheet
I thought it was a type of Mayonaisse
06-18-2017 01:10 PM
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scrambled Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Gijón Datasheet
What skin tone do the girls in Gijón have? Fair or tan? Significant 'hipster' or fat girl population? And what do you mean by prostitution, is that common there?

Why isn't the Asturian dialect used, when the other regions have their own dialect? Do the other regions still use Castillian if you try to speak to them in that?
06-19-2017 08:09 AM
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Ouroboros Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Gijón Datasheet
(06-19-2017 08:09 AM)scrambled Wrote:  What skin tone do the girls in Gijón have? Fair or tan?

They have fair skin, very unlike the tanned girls you have down south in that regard.

(06-19-2017 08:09 AM)scrambled Wrote:  Significant 'hipster' or fat girl population?

I didn't notice any hipster culture really. Based on the young people I interacted with as a teacher, and socially, girls seemed to be really into commercial American culture (popular music and movies) or alternatively classic rock music. I didn't notice hipster fashion.

There aren't many fat girls; but butterfaces aren't uncommon.

(06-19-2017 08:09 AM)scrambled Wrote:  And what do you mean by prostitution, is that common there?

I saw a lot of brothels there, yes. Initially I thought they were nightclubs due to the fact that they had signs saying 'Club'. Then I asked a waitress I knew 'has trabajado en un club?', wondering whether she had worked in nightclubs before bars. Fortunately she wasn't offended and explained the difference in word usage haha.

(06-19-2017 08:09 AM)scrambled Wrote:  Why isn't the Asturian dialect used, when the other regions have their own dialect? Do the other regions still use Castillian if you try to speak to them in that?

Castilian Spanish was the main language of the Kingdom of Spain for centuries, and then under Franco the regional languages were repressed more vigorously and only Castilian permitted. In the past few decades there has been a revival in regionalism expressed partly through the promotion of local languages like Asturian.

To answer your question, I'm not sure why Asturian isn't used much in the cities (apparently they speak it more in the countryside) whereas Catalan and Galician, for example, are still the major languages in their respective areas. For whatever reason Castilian replaced Asturian more effectively, perhaps in part due to the proximity of Asturias to Castilla y Leon.

Everyone still learns and understands Castilian, so they will understand you if you speak it to them. You may, however, have difficulty understanding regional accents and colloquialisms.
06-19-2017 09:17 AM
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