Getting a feel of the land in Besullo

4 September 2021

It’s already Saturday, but who’s counting. The Spanish clock is more important to know if you want to undertake things. This means getting out the door before noon because around 1pm many establishments close for the afternoon. Of course we are in a hamlet, so I quickly learn that the one tavern stays open all day. After an easy start of the morning we make ourselves there for some coffee on the patio, the best place to connect with the locals. With chit chat, learn that we can also get our bread there and make our way to the Alejandro Casones visitor center. He was a famous playwright born here, but the center offers much more than that.

On our walk there, mom gets chatting to a lady leaning out of her first floor window, taking in the views and the passersby. Her house, of course, is build slope side. The entrance is adorned by a canopy of grapevines which are rich in bunches of grapes. My mom asks the lady friendly to look away so that she can go harvest. The lady, her name is Ana, laughs and says they need a couple more weeks before they are ripe. “Excellent, we still will be here!” mom exclaims. For now they have settled on drinking coffee together sometime soon.

Alejandro Casona, playwright

We walk on to the visitor center and, as it happens when we arrive, we learn they are about to do a guided tour through town which will tell us about the architecture and cultural history of the town. And boy, does it ever have history, dating back to Roman times!

Our guide Julio speaks loud, clear and for me, most importantly, slow! I can follow most of what he is saying, My rusty Castellano is gradually waking up, an intelligent conversation still on the distant horizon. Looking forward to elevating my conversational skills from a level 4 year-old to that of an adult :-p

Two hours later we wrap up the tour and make our way home. The sun is belting town. It’s 27C with little wind and tomorrow we are in for a 33C day. I learn that this is the warmest region in Asturias, probably also the reason why it is its wine region. Something I look forward to exploring more soon. After our rest, we go outside again and find our elderly farmer neighbour in his garden. We start talking and soon he invites us in through the gate. He brings us into his shed, which turns out to be a metal workshop. In fact, he is a famous artisan pocket knife maker, he makes that from scratch. Full of pride he shows us his work and we recall having seen a documentary on him just before we came to Asturias. That he turns out to be our neighbour is rather insane. And he is not 80 years old but 85 years old. Still full of spunk and clearly a tireless worker of his land. He gives us a grand tour of all his other workshops and gives me a mini horseshoe he made, for good luck. Tomorrow we will get fresh corn on the cob from his land.

Starry night winking at us

The night falls and mom prepares a meal sourced from the farmers here. Potatoes, kale and onion with my mother’s touch it becomes a feast.

Seeing that it is a milder night, we leave the chimenea for what is it. However, the stars beckon us. With very little light pollution, the sky is absolutely fantastic here! So much to see. We go out for a night’s walk to take it all in. People are still out and about on strolls or walking from one taverna to the other (there are two only). The crickets are chirping, nightly birds fly over. Once in a while we see the silhouette of a bat fly past. Tonight the cows are quiet and so is the dog. We experience pure silence for a moment and feel the enormity of the universe above us. On the way back we collect pieces of tree bark still left on a truck parked nearby, for when we want to start another fire.

Once again, we are grateful for the encounters we have had and the things we have learned about this area. We are getting a feel of the land.