Home  WHAT TO SEE  Juana Bizcarra – Route from Zugazarte to Las Arenas

Juana Bizkarra

Photograph on loan from Getxoko Liburutegiak – Getxo Municipal Libraries

Thanks to this story, all will be revealed about the life of Juana Bizcarra and her fellow nannies. They performed an invaluable service for the upper middle-classes here in Bizkaia that chose to set up home in Getxo, as these women were responsible for looking after their children, and sometimes even acted as wet nurses.

These añas (also referred to as nodrizas (wet nurses), amas de cría (wet nurses) or ayas (governesses) in the Basque Country) were responsible for taking the children for walks in the gardens along Zugazarte and Ondategi, a neighbourhood built between 1916 and 1935. The streets provided the backdrop for these starched white aprons and the laughter and games of the little ones, who looked upon them almost like mothers.

Accompany Juana on her route and discover other traditional trades boosted by this increase in population. Follow her steps -from Zugazarte into the very heart of Las Arenas- and admire the buildings, among the anonymous people and famous names that breathed life into this garden city.


Juana Bizcarra Ubieta came to Getxo from Abadiño (a town in Bizkaia about 35 km south-east of Bilbao), in 1926 to work as an aña or nanny in a family home here in Las Arenas.

Juana wore a uniform, and she could usually be seen walking along the avenue Avenida Zugazarte and around Ondategi with her fellow nannies, wearing her long white or navy-blue dress beneath an immaculate white apron, her hair in a bun, and large earrings. Another "accessory" involved large English-made prams.

Aged 44, Juana was the eldest of the four servants (five in summer) that attended to the household needs of this family made up of a couple and their child. She worked for them for 24 months. We do not know anything about her life after that, but it would be nice to think that she held a special place in the memory of the child to whom she dedicated part of her life.

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