OVIEDO: NO PAIN, NO GAIN
We left for Oviedo right after the lunch, and after a 3-hour trip, we finally reached our destination. There wasn’t much to be done for the day, except for a brief street action before dinner. “Armed” with our posters and promotional material, we headed for the city centre with a lot of determination, when suddenly it started to rain. Faced with this unwanted challenge, we decided to change our venue for an indoor one and headed towards a shopping centre nearby. There, however, we would find out just how difficult things can become when trying to challenge people’s perceptions on the importance of voting. Not only were we quite often ignored (and we thought rejection was bad) but we also witnessed an incident during which a man started shouting at us in disapproval of the situation and the political class in Spain. With very few positive results, we decided to call it a day and head for dinner.
And on the seventh day he rested, or we rested. Finally, we got the opportunity to sleep in. This was a good start of the day because the incident of the previous day took some of our enthusiasm away.
Around 10 o’clock we started our street actions in the beautiful city of Oviedo. The cloudy weather was creating a depressing atmosphere that was only accented by the passers-by who immediately became upset once they noticed we were promoting European Parliament elections. The negativism towards the EU seemed almost rooted in the Asturians: hopeless to persist.
Next on our agenda was a political debate. Due to the killing of regional politician Isabel Carrasco, bigger parties cancelled their participation. Hence, we got the opportunity to listen to the voices of civil initiatives such as Podemos, Foro, Equo, Ciudadanos and Primavera Europea. The questions posed to the representatives seemed quite general but their answers were far from clear. Yet, one idea that regularly reappears in the debates are the working hours and how they should be shortened which would result in more jobs. A solution favoured by many, but which makes me doubt the solution to job-creation could be so simple.
Once it turned into the afternoon, it was time to taste the amazing Asturian cuisine which left everybody in good mood for the reflection hour that followed. After one week on the road, it was high time we shared our experiences and thoughts so far and plan the strategy for the week ahead. We might not have been able to convince everybody to vote but we can at least persist by making them aware of the importance of the elections.
In the evening, we finally awaited the “official” city tour which took us from the statue of La Gorda pass the impressing cathedral of Jesus Cristo through the city centre until our favourite monument, the statue of Woody Allen.
As the night appeared, the great organizers of AEGEE-Oviedo prepared a typical Asturian dinner for us. We drank cidra, ate pinchos and danced. The final impression has definitely left us with the desire to return, despite the disappointing scepticism of the Asturians and the hard times we had been through.
Sara Kobal, AEGEE-Ljubljana – participant