Sealand has arrived in Europe. Not just anywhere in Europe but to Asturias, a little-visited region by the hordes of sun-seeking tourists that is wedged between Galicia and Cantabria along the northern coast of Spain. It’s unlike any other region in Spain, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Picos de Europa (the Peaks of Europe), which basically translates to the absolute best of both worlds. And I am here! You can have a morning surf and finish your afternoon climbing, skiing, snowboarding or on the water again rafting or SUPing. It crams everything in, from snowy mountains to sandy beaches and well known surf spots, humble tapas bars to Michelin Star restaurants, and from raucous local festivals to silent valleys where bears and wolves still roam (http://www.wandafilms.com/site/sinopsis/cantabrico). Asturias boasts 24 nature reserves in total, including one national park and three of Spain’s largest nature reserves. It is one of Western Europes’ last remaining large scale natural sanctuaries.
Photos by Semeyade Toral
With strong Celtic influences dating back to pre-Roman times, the 700 year Moorish rule of the Iberian Peninsula from the 8th century onwards never found this mountainous territory easy to conquer, and so the lands along this section of Spain's northern shore never formed part of Islamic Spain. Asturias thus became the Kingdom of Asturias through the middle ages, a refuge for surviving Christian nobles and the bastion of the so-called Reconquista (the ‘reconquest’) of the peninsula, so much so that Asturians today love to cry out in jest to fellow Spaniards that “Asturias is Spain, and the rest is just conquered land!”.
Photo by Semeyade Toral
In essence it’s the perfect place for Sealand, enabling us to enter the business market of Europe while continuing to combine it with our passion for nature and the great outdoors. I’ve had the freedom to live in a few places around the world over the years, and having lived and had my first born in Spain prior to my decade long move to Cape Town, returning to Spain was always on the cards. The north of Spain is as close as it gets to the panoramic beauty I discovered in South Africa. It’s where I see myself making our home for a while now, with the ocean and mountains at my doorstep again, and a place most becoming of Sealand Gear from where we’ll bring our proudly South African environmentally conscious unique product range to Europe (http://whereisasturias.com/playa-misiego-villaviciosa/).