The nine see baths tradition

Beach at the occidental coast of Asturias

September arrives and with it, a tradition very settled by these lands. The 9 bathrooms.

Do you know what it is? It is said that if during the month of September you take nine baths in a row, of at least 9 waves, you protect yourself from colds throughout the year.

Do you know what the reasons are? Well, there are several opinions. Some say it's because in September the sea has more iodine. In other cases, because the sea temperature and the ambient temperature is very similar. In others, because September is the time when the sea has the highest temperature of the year, and has a certain thermal effect.

A bit confusing, yes. The truth is that we have found no scientific basis to support this rite. But it is true that sea baths are healthy. And it is customary for spa treatments to last about ten days.

I knew it as a local custom. But searching, I have seen that in many parts of Asturias and Galicia there is this tradition. And looking for even more, also in the South, in Almeria.

And you, do you have any similar tradition?

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Horreos and Paneras

Horreo

Today we want to tell you about one of the most typical constructions of Asturias, the horreos (and paneras)

It is not the only typical Asturian construction, but perhaps the most famous. There are thousands of them. Rare is the town where you do not find some horreos.

What were they for? Mainly, for storage. Above all, to store grain, and other non-perishable foods. Its elevated and ventilated structure (the walls are not normally sealed, but there are slits between the boards that form them) without light, allows food to be kept dry for a long time.

Come on, like a very big pantry.

It is important to know that this use has been the main one, but not the only one. It has also served in a more or less punctual way as housing, workshop, accessory stay ...

A curious detail. Legally, it is a mobile property. That is, like a car. In fact, it is designed to be able to be disassembled and assembled if necessary. In fact, you could buy yourself a horreo and ride it back in your garden. As long as it is not catalogued. And as long as you have a garden.

That has made that, in many occasions, the horreo belongs to one person, but it is on another-s land. For hundreds of years. Curious, don't you think so?.

And that has to do with the photo that opens our blog. Mainly, the horreos were elements of economic power. Whoever had a horreo, had some wealth in the village. It has a build too, and things to keep, you know. Ostentation of wealth, come on. But of course, time passes by and not everything always stays that way. Sometimes your money dwindles, or you do not need as much space. And, what do you do? You split it halfway with someone else. You open a second door, mount a wooden partition in the middle, and build a new "subidoria" (in the photo you see 2 stone stairs) for the other access. Now, people call it timesharing. You see that everything is invented ...

Of course, if we Asturians wanted to take advantage of our uniqueness, this is not the time. Although this construction is clearly Asturian, there are similar models in other areas of the peninsula (Galicia, Cantabria, León, Portugal, Biscay, Navarre...), and also in the rest of Europe (France, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Norway, Sweden...). Even in other areas of the world.

We bring you a photo of an horreo in Iran that has its resemblance to our  Western Asturian ones, with vegetal cover.

You see, that at some point building aloft became fashionable, and this was a non-stop.

Globalization, they want to call it. now....

 

Original resources: http://www.solomadera.com/15_horreo_asturiano_madera.htm

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Asturian local breeds. El Asturcon

Asturcon

Today we would like to tell you about one of the breeds of native animals around here: “Los Asturcones”.

Within the native asturian breeds, it is perhaps the best known. They are small horses, but strong and sturdy, and very hairy in winter.

Although there are representations of horses in these land since the Paleolithic, it seems that the Asturcones began to come here around the VIII-VI centuries a.C. There are several theories that make them related to other ponies or small Celtic horses, although with origin in the Caspian pony. In fact, these theories indicate that they have common ties with other ponies in areas as long away as Sweden, Iceland, Ireland, Britain and Germany. On the peninsula, they are family of Galician Facos, Basque Pottoka or Portuguese Garranos. You know, then we think that we travel a lot...

Like many other indigenous races, the modern and above all contemporary age did not sit well with them. Being small animals and "less productive" than other foreign breeds, their breeding became a jam. But the hardest time was the time between the 1930s and 1970s. The Asturcon was no longer valued for meat or draft animals, and was on the verge of its disappearance.

In the 70s it starts a revival, thanks to conservative associations and the Ponis Breeders of the Asturcón race Association.

Today the Asturcon is not only a horse of ancestral roots, but represents purity, nobility and freedom. Don't forget that it lives free on the mountain, and has a lot of resistance to adapt to harsh climates and rugged terrain.

Since 1980, in August, the "Fiesta del Asturcón" is celebrated, dedicated to exhibiting, taming and marking these horses.

Next time somebody tells you something's small and "it's worthless," think of the Asturcon.

Oh, if It could talk...

Sources used: A. ALVAREZ SEVILLA. Les races autoctones del Principáu d'Asturies

www.asturcones.com

Photo: La Cerecina (web www.asturcones.com)

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Frost. Beauty and danger in the snow

I am sure you know the frost well, and more now during winter. But do you know which dangers they have linked to snow?

The frost is formed at night, by the drop of temperature and the condensation of water on the surface (in this case, on the snow). This water can come from the air or the lower layers of snow, warmer than the surface.

Frost is therefore not a type of snow, but it is involved in snow phenomenons, as it influences the behavior of the snow cover.

Usually the frost disappears during the day, in the daytime heat. But if it does not, and the process is repeated for several days, a separate layer can form in the snow cover, which is called snow crust, tremendously hard and slippery.

 

Frost on the snow

 

 

If it subsequently snows on top, we find ourselves in a very dangerous situation whenever we walk on sloping terrain. It may seem that snow is ideal for a walk, but all the soft snow could yield due to our weight and it may happens a snowslide.

It is not very common to find frosts that crystallize so much in the Cantabrian Mountains. Although frosts are not uncommon, winds, daytime temperatures and the absence of many anticyclonic days make it rare to see frosts like those in the photos.

They are really cool images, but remember that snow can be very beautiful and dangerous at the same time. So, it is so important, whenever you like to gor for a walk in a snowy landscape, just go to a flat area, or in the company of professionals.

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How to shit in the bush?

Rubbish in the countryside

(Walk during the daylight, the night is mine)

Sustainability, helping nature.  What should I do when I have to shit?

 

This is the Blog post I've wanted to do, since we started on the page. I know it looks rude, but it's much more important than it looks. And not only because of the smells, but because of the ecological impact and human risks:

- Droppings can contaminate lakes and streams, as well as, by infiltration, mountain springs. Viruses, bacteria, protozoa and other parasites can contaminate human-consuming water.

- Paper contamination. It can take up to a year to completely decompose.

- Risks of poor hygiene after making water bigger and lower

Of course, nature has been the public bath of humans and animals for millennia, and in low densities and conducive environmental conditions, it can be beneficial for the terrain. But as hikers or hikers, we are beings outside the ecological balance, and that is why we must try to reduce our impact as much as possible.

That's why it's important to keep in mind some simple tips:

- On short excursions, it is ideal to have solved the problem at home. The best way to avoid the impact of a residue on nature is not by generating it.

- Avoid places near roads or lakes, streams or rivers. A minimum distance of 50-60 meters is recommended.

- If possible, dig a small hole where you can then bury it. Ideally it is soil with loose and sunny soil.

- If you use fig paper, do not throw it away. Take it in a watertight bag until you find a trash can or dumpster, already at home. Another option is to burn the paper. In that case, make sure you completely burn the paper, and that the fire is completely off before you leave. It would no longer be the first fire caused by this recklessness.

- Wet wipes, compresses, tampons, etc... we have to put them in a bag and throw them in a container, already at home.

- We must wash our hands afterwards, to avoid the risk of infections by our own hands.

 

I promise to be less scatological in upcoming blogs, but if you go out into the wild from time to time and see how some corners are by the roads, you will understand me perfectly...

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Andai de día, que la nuechi ye mía

La Güestia - Halloween

(Walk during the daylight, the night is mine)

Local traditions in Asturias, and much more...  Do you think that enlightened pumkins are just for american Halloween?

 

We are nearly in the All Hallows Eve. Or Halloween, Samhain, Tosantos, Night of the Dead... These is a data where the pagan and the religious mix, separate, stir or shake, like a gintonic. Pure syncretism. From the festivities of muertitos in Mexico to the Spanish Don Juan Tenorio.

Is it a Christian or a pagan tradition? It's hard to get it right. Acording to Celtic culture, it was a celebration of the end of the harvest.

Anyway, today we would like to tell you what or who the “Güestia” is. Either the “Santa Compaña”, or the “Burra Parda”, or the “Hueste de ánimas”, or the “Estadea”, or the “Corteju de Genti de Muerti” ....... Popular Asturian, Galician, Castilian, Extremaduran traditions... In Asturies, the Güestia is a procession of dead people who roam penance on the roads, announcing death, on this magical night. If you meet them, it is said that you will die within a year, unless you are a “Vedoria” person. In that case, they cannot affect you, but you can predict who is going to die soon.

Surely, nobody wants them to come to their house, of course. Therefore, lights are put on the roads, to light their way and pass by, not to stand. In the absence of electric light, hollow pumpkins were put on, with holes and candles lit inside. Hollow pumpkins with a candle inside... what does it remind you of?

In Ireland, the Banshees announced death. In Zamora, a ragged woman who stinks does the same.

Religion or paganism? Legend or reality? Invention or popular culture?

I know, everything is pure legend, popular culture that goes far away from borders and survives for centuries.

But just in case, during the Hallows Eve…

"Andai de día, que la nuechi ye mía"

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What is behind the title of “Principality” of Asturias?

Asturian History

This week has been celebrated the "Asturian Day", and there is a detail that I think is curious and little known. As you know, the official name of Asturias, is that of "Principality of Asturias". Also in the Asturian language. Most people do not know the origin of the name, they think it is related to the Princess of Asturias awards, to the origins of the kingdom of Asturias or to an honorary title.

Nothing further from reality

To do this, we must be in the XIV century. At that time, there was no longer the kingdom of Asturias or León, only those of Castile, Aragon and Navarre.

Alfonso Enriquez, bastard son of Enrique de Trastámara, tried to rebel twice to the kingdom of Castile, within the Asturian territory. The motives are worthy of a soap opera, but it was basically a disrespect when he felt despised by his father, King Enrique. Some years later,  King John I created the Principality of Asturias, similar to that of Wales or the dolphin in France, with a dual purpose:

-Take domain of the Asturian territories directly by the king or his heir, and thereby snatch power from the local nobles or any other power in the area

- Protect the Crown of Castile from foreign interests. By creating the figure of the principality, he legitimized the Crown's heritage and avoided foreign interests that could claim for it.

Furthermore, over the centuries, the institution of the Principality fell into disuse. With the end of the Austrias and the arrival of the Borbones, they revitalized it partially, seeking to increase its legitimacy to the Spanish crown. Being Princes of Asturias, they sought to identify historically with the crown of Castile, and by extension, with that of Spain.

It is true that the meaning of concepts changes as time goes by, and that it is a mistake to understand the past with current concepts, and so the contray. But the origin of the "Principality" is anything but something that fills us with pride and satisfaction.