Saturday, May 13, 2017

Our Lady of Castrotierra

Enrique was out of bed before dawn and off to gather and lead his group of Cosamai "kids" to join the short pilgrimage to Castrotierra to accompany La Virgen, Our Lady of Castrotierra, from Astorga back to her home church after her visit to our city, an event that usually occurs every seven years. I journey with the crowds the last time, but stayed behind today with University work to do. So sleepy I snuggled back into the covers after kissing Enrique good-bye, read the news and dozed off until I was reawakened by lovely singing in the street below. Thousands of people slowly walking down our street, ahead, behind and carrying the Virgen of Castrotierra on their shoulders. This is after all a place of strong tradition.

Photos - Lucía de la Luna, Astorga Redacción 

Photos - Victorina Alonso Fernández

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Día de la Madre

Feliz Día de la Madre! Spanish Mother's Day comes a week earlier than in the States. It always leaves me blue, as if one Mother's Day weren't bad enough, I have two. But, the sun came through the clouds, and with its reappearance I noticed seedlings on the balcony pushing through the soil, sparrows visiting on the rail, swallows flitting and a festive feeling by all who passed below on the street. Before I could send a couple notes to loved ones, the doorbell rang and a winsome precious young woman held multiple gifts and letter of love for me. I can see her hand holding up my package. It seems she's whole-heartedly adopted me and I've undeniably become her God-mother; spoiled in her adoration. Love isn't always where you're looking. And if you're not careful you might miss the beauty right before your eyes. This was a beautiful day. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Balcony Gardening May

Balcony Gardening in Northern Spain is an impossibility at worst and a challenge at best. Cruel and unexpected frosts and snow can suddenly freeze any uncovered plants and damage tender new growth that might emerge after the frigid winter. Most people in the north don't make any great effort to grow greenery on their balconies, leaving the streets somewhat hostile looking in comparison to their southern neighbours.

It's already May and I persist stubbornly. If I can't get the plants and flowers to grow now, there won't be any for us to enjoy the short summer.
Soaked sweet pea seeds from last year and a few new ones I purchased to plant the following day.

Only a few have raised their heads two weeks later. The temperatures are just too variable with some serious cold weather in between.

A stick of a hydrangea has survived the winter, seems to like its new glazed pot and is leafing out beautifully.
The chrysanthemum became spindly and so I tied it with twine. It's from All Saint's Day two years ago, sometimes gets infested with black aphids and seems like it's going to die and then is like the Resurrection Lily and reappears all over again.

Gelatarium Astorga

We returned from our holidays and look who we found when we got back! It's true, the long drab grey winter is over and proof of that is that Liana has reappeared with the finest Italian ice-cream this side of ol' Italy!

É buono.. é buono...