This is the slogan of the new Gijón campaign and it describes well the character of its people. When you go to an unknown place for the first time, there is always a certain expectation of what it will be like, what kind of food there will be, what the weather will be like…but one of the things that can determine the most whether you will return to said place or not, are the people who live there. I am convinced that I will return to Gijón, for its gourmet presentation, for its urban and rural contrasts, for the quality of its cider, but above all for the connection it has established with its people. Undoubtedly, Gijón honors one of the most profound words of this city, the Peasants.
One of the definitions of a peasant is: “the conditions of existence of two or more persons from the same country, and a kind of association which stems from it.” I had never heard that word and didn’t quite understand its meaning, until I visited Gijon and realized it Refers to the way to treat people, the way to be based on generosity, kindness, and your passion for welcoming. I’ve never been to Gijon before, and after four days of walking its streets and interacting with its residents, I can tell you that a special bond was created through good company, good food, and of course good cider.
It is said that the best way to learn about a place is through its inhabitants. Seeing a city does not mean getting to know it, immersing yourself in its culture and traditions at the hands of a local. While staying in Gijon, I had the pleasure of getting to know the city through the eyes of the locals, Carolina, Maite, Nacho, Pilar, Daniel, Reyes, Lorena and Tony, among others. Despite being a city of over 270,000 residents, it still retains the essence of a city and if you are walking down the street you will see that people are greeting each other and asking about their things, they may introduce you to their conversation. One of the experiences I enjoyed most during my stay was walking in the old part, Cimavilla, accompanied by Pilar Sánchez Vicente, a writer and a native of authentic Gijón. Through his personal experiences and all his acquaintances, he discovered this two-thousand-year-old city for us, from the stories of unknown characters (such as the women who worked for years in Tabacalera or the fishmongers he met in one of his novels) and other well-known characters such as Jovellanos or Rambal. So that you understand a little more what I mean when I talk about the Gijoninses character, I will tell you that Carolina (one of our hostess and conference desk coordinator) told Pilar that I really like police novels, and once visiting he had the details of giving me and dedicating his “Operación Dracul” to me.
Gijón has changed a lot over the years and has become a city of contrasts and what struck me most was the ease with which you can leave the hustle and bustle of the Bay of Biscay, and see yourself surrounded by green meadows. Barely fifteen minutes separates the city center from the suburbs Where people escape on the weekends to enjoy the sun and good cider. Fortunately, there was a stop in the itinerary at one of the region’s most legendary cider factories, Casa Trabanco. There we met Nacho, the cider maker, who showed us one of the most unique places I’ve ever visited, the Tunnel. Years ago, a railway project began to connect Gijón Paula de Cerro, and despite the fact that it was built, it was never used; The Trabanco family put one of their cider presses there, and today it has more than 30 stainless steel and 12 oak barrels. As I tell you, it is a unique space that manages to fully preserve its essence, but with a modern air, perfect for a more relaxing event to take part in one of its oldest traditions, especially (if you want to know more about it, don’t miss the following article). But aside from the fact that it is a location to consider for holding events, I left with the passion that Nacho spoke to us when he told us about the process of making cider (which I was obviously able to try) or when he had the patience to teach me to pour cider
Indeed, a book can be written about the inhabitants of Gijón, as their new campaign for tourism promotion told you –Gijonomy– It is precisely based on this, In the evaluation of “Places, customs and samples of Gijón”, with which I had the pleasure to meet. In an interview, Ana Gonzalez, mayor of Gijón, said it was the city’s residents who “made it habitable” and added that it was a place “where there is always room for people”. It is a sincere invitation that I encourage you to accept because apart from being a city with all the facilities when it comes to organizing an event (in terms of venues, transportation, gastronomy…) it is a place you will want to return to.
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