In Gijon, as in all of Asturias, in addition to castellano, another language called asturianu is spoken. It is the dialect local throughout Asturias and parts of Castilla-Leon. It has an 80% understandability to Spanish. Some of the grammatical structure is different than Spanish, but it's not a radical difference. Some words are exactly the same, some are slightly altered such as:
Many people who are into cultural revival feel very strongly that asturianu should be recognized by the Spanish government and should be taught in school, etc. It is not uncommon to see signs altered with the asturian spelling as illustrated below.
Birthplace of the late 18th century erudite and politician Gaspar Melchor Baltasar de Xove y Llanos (Jovellanos), Gijón (Xixón n'asturianu) is the largest urban area in Asturias in terms of population, marginally surpassing the capital, Oviedo, as far as number of inhabitants is concerned. In winter it is an agreeable enough place - many of the photos on the following Travelogue pages were taken on a brilliant day in January 2008. In summer there are the inevitable crowds associated with any watering-place on the Cantabrican coast. Best then to head for the hills, where peace and quiet reign supreme.
If you are arriving in Gijón by car, perhaps the best place to park is in the free car park overlooking the beach on the Somio road, beyond the bridge over the Piles river, and right at the end of the promenade. 2 km from the city centre - a super walk along the aforementioned prom. That is, unless you are really keen to do battle with others looking for elusive parking spaces. By train - FEVE and RENFE share a terminus at El Humedal, right in the city centre. Park + Ride? Try Pinzales on the FC de Langreo line (the FEVE one to Pola de Laviana) or Perlora on that to Avilés and Pravia. Hotels? Why stay in the city, and pay city prices, when there is the excellent Hotel Piedra out on the coast at Perlora, with trains into the city every half hour, right on your doorstep? The railway is currently being extended under the city centre eastwards to the hospital at Cabueñes, near Somio. A sort of mini-metro . . . when (if ever) it is completed.
Over half of the action in my novel 'The Long Coast' takes place in Gijón, between 1915 and October 1937 (the exodus which accompanied the collapse of the Republican Northern Front during the Civil War), centred around the lives and loves of two families running shipping agencies, the Hansens and Isaachsens, both of Norwegian (Vestland) origin. Both agency offices were situated in the calle de la Trinidad, right here on the quays, which in those days presented quite a different aspect to what they do today - there were fishing boats, and small colliers loading coal from the Nalón valley destined for the heavy industries of the Bilbao district. The intro and epilogue sections of 'The Long Coast' are also based in Gijón, but in September 1974.
For views of the modern port area of Gijón, please go to my separate page (and Travelogues), which VT chooses to entitle 'Musel - Arnao', but which in fact covers El Musel, Cabo Torres, Veriña and Aboño. For Somio and some of the other outer suburbs, access 'Somio', 'Porceyo', 'Deva' and 'Mareo'. The names here are not that precise - the VT place-name index does not cover all the suburbs of Gijón! However, my own collection of photos of the main urban area continues to grow, so some of the Travelogues that originally formed part of 'Gijón' have been farmed out, to create more space here.