Botanic Garden

Bulrushes in bloom

Post by Wynette: Yesterday, Friday, May 4, we took a bus to the Jardín Botánico Atlántico. We spent 2 or 3 hours walking through the huge garden. They had areas with native plants, invasive plants, plants brought from the Americas, plants important for cultivation (farm plants), forest plants, herbs, and much more.

We learned that the Spanish word for holly is acebo and the name for gorse is tojo. That when the century plant, one of those American imports, gets a lot of water, they get really really really big. That bulrushes, at least the ones labeled as such that grow here, have beautiful yellow flowers that look like irises. That camellias are beautiful as long as they are deadheaded. (We saw so many on the Camino with brown flowers, we got a bad impression of camellias.) We learned what a monkey puzzle tree is. We learned that rich industrialists who probably treated workers badly can leave beautiful estates. We learned that yew trees can be pruned into really cool shapes. We learned that citrus can bloom and have fruit at the same time, and the blooms smell heavenly. And we learned that lilacs smell good here, too. (Well, we already knew that.)

Deadheaded camellias
Well-watered century plant
Smelling the lilacs

Día de Las Madres + Cinco de Mayo

Post by Wynette: Today is Mother’s Day in Spain. Two different times we’ve been in Spain I’ve gotten confused on Mother’s Day in Spain and also thought it was Mother’s Day in the US and called my mom. Didn’t happen this time. But, Mom, talk to you NEXT Sunday. ❤️

We decided to have lunch today at the trattoria on our block. There are more than 20 Italian restaurants in Gijón and this one is the most highly rated. Since it was Sunday we thought we would call to see if we needed a reservation. To our surprise, they had “no mesas”. They were … the dreaded word … “completo.” So we decided to try another Italian restaurant. Also completo. On the phone, after the guy said “completo, ” he started talking fast and I couldn’t get much of what he was saying. Charlie and I both heard the word “madre” and my very smart husband figured out the restaurants are full because it is Mother’s Day. We’d completely forgotten. We tried a couple more places, also completo.

Finally, vía Google Maps, we found a well-rated Mexican taquería in the old town that doesn’t take reservations. Didn’t even have a phone listed. So we thought we might have a chance there. We headed over. No tables were available, but he (the owner, we presume, and the only waiter in the tiny restaurant) said we could sit at the bar. No problem. We were glad to get in.

Tiny colorful Taquería Las Calacas, a few moms present

We ordered our water (big drinkers that we are) and our tacos. We weren’t sure what tacos to order of the seven choices but they were only a euro each so we ordered one of each. (Big spenders, too.) He warned us one of them (the shrimp one) was very very hot. We said “no problema”.

Before our tacos were ready, he pointed us to some places that were free at one end of a table.

Free places for us

The tacos came. They were great. And, yes, one was quite hot but nothing our New Mexico taste buds couldn’t handle. The tacos were small and we were still hungry after we had eaten them, so we asked him what else he’d recommend and he suggested the chicken enchiladas with tomatilla sauce and mozzarella cheese. We shared an order of those. Also very good.

Colorful tacos. Hot one at 3:00.
They really were smaller than they look here.

There were two young women sitting at the other end of the table where he seated us. One asked us, in English, where we were from. They were from Bilbao. They were here for a long weekend holiday, but they didn’t like Gijón as much as their home town. They said they had been talking about us earlier, about how nice it must be to be older and retired and to be able to travel to far away places. They said they don’t think people in Spain will be getting very good retirements. I think she used the word “crisis.” We talked about other things. Was fun to talk to them.

The young women we chatted with and the friendly owner. Paying their bill.

So we had Mexican instead of Italian today. Perfect for Cinco de Mayo.

Satisfied customer