Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

For me, the last­ing im­age of this sea­side town is of the white statue of a guardian an­gel perched above a ru­ined monastery in the hill­side ceme­tery.

For oth­ers, it is of the green and yel­low sun­flower tiles that cover El Capricho, the house that is con­sid­ered ar­chi­tect An­toni Gaudi’s most im­por­tant early work and one of few ex­am­ples of the ar­chi­tect’s work out­side of Cat­alo­nia.

El Capricho used to be a home and a restau­rant but to­day the whole house and its gar­den is a mu­seum. tur­is­mo­comil­ de Europa leads to the green heart of ru­ral Spain.

And to a place many be­lieve is its spir­i­tual heart, Co­vadonga.

Even with­out a re­li­gious call­ing, the trip here is worth the a lovely drive through steep-walled val­leys clad with beau­ti­ful old for­est, along the River Reinazo, its banks lined with ca­noe hire stores and past rus­tic houses with their horreos or tra­di­tional grain stores along­side.

Co­vadonga is the site of an epic bat­tle in which a greatly out­num­bered band of Chris­tians de­feated the in­vad­ing Moors in 722.

The David and Go­liath strug­gle, led by Pe­layo, a no­ble­man and war­rior who later be­came king of As­turias, is the rea­son a few parts of north­ern Spain re­main pretty much as they were when founded in the eighth cen­tury.

At tiny Co­vadonga is a vast basil­ica built on the site of Pe­layo’s vic­tory, with a statue of the man him­self stand­ing guard. as­turi­as­­vadonga.html

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