Rain whipped the bus’s windshield violently as we made our way west along La Costa Verde. Small rivers formed on my window from the downpour, as I peered out over the Asturian landscape for the first time. Rolling meadows sloped upward into majestic, snow-covered peaks and terracotta-colored rooftops and flocks of sheep studded the landscape, standing out against the green canvas. I had made it to Asturias.
I was invited by Paradores de España and Tourism of Asturias to take part in a creative project called Paradores Partners In Design: 5 writers from around the globe were brought in to tour Asturias on highly individualized itineraries showcasing the region’s treasures. Our inspiration from Asturias, we’d then document via hand-written journals and iPads, and later mold into a story to share with a team of Spanish interior designers.
This is where the project gets really exciting.
But before I get to that, I need to explain to you what the Paradores are.
Paradores de España: What Are They?
Around 80 years ago, Spain, much like today, was trying to improve its international image. They entrusted a man by the name of Marqués de la Vega Inclán to start up a hotel chain to bring in tourism to the country, an idea which King Alfonso XIII jumped so enthusiastically on board with, that he ended up choosing the location of Spain’s first Parador in the Gredos Mountains. In the selection of the locations for the now-90+ various Paradores throughout Spain, natural beauty and historic buildings are the most important factors. Paradores are situated inside centuries-old castles, monasteries, and more. We stayed in a 100-year old mill that’s been converted into a 4-star hotel, in Gijón, Asturias.
The Project: Paradores Partners in Design
On July 15th, 2013, the Queen of Spain will be inaugurating a new Parador in Corias, Asturias. The interior designers assigned to this project are currently taking our stories and photos and using it as inspiration in their design of the hotel’s interior. How cool is that? I’ll be able to go to this Parador and see where and how my interpretation of Asturias inspired a fellow creative’s work. Talk about flattering!
Where I Went
My unique itinerary was a tour of the coastal villages of Asturias. In just two days I saw about 10 different seaside villages and other points of interest! To say it was a whirlwind trip would be an understatement–in the absolute best way possible! Here’s some of what you can expect to see on the blog in the coming weeks:
- A walk through Luanco, where I fell in love with the vibrantly painted buildings.
- Cabo Peñas, Asturia’s most northern point that was painfully beautiful!
- Avilés a mid-sized medieval city and my first introduction to the Asturian lunch!
- Cudillero, Asturia’s most famous (and colorful) fishing village.
- Llanes, a town that’s home to 31 beaches!
- Las Cuevas de Tito Bustillo, pre-historic caves with cave paintings inside!
I really fell for Asturias and am so excited to share what I saw with you! Northern Spain continues to blow me away!