Thursday, February 07, 2013

In Hamburg there's no underground parking and all the Porsches, Mercedes, Audis and BMWs park in parallel on verges between the road and the pavement(sidewalk). So no one has to negotiate pillars or to manoeuvre in and out of a small space. Which probably explains why no car in the entire city has all four corners scratched. Compared with the majority of cars in every city in Spain.

Who knows why but the PP party is blocking all discussion in Congress on the slush fund allegations made against it.This probably doesn't bode well for the prospects of an entirely independent investigation into these. The current strategy seems to be to get matters into the hands of the snail's-pace courts, in the knowledge this will seem like they're taking action, when they're really kicking the ball into the long grass.

Against the backcloth of what's happening here – corruption at senior levels of the government – and what isn't happening – resignations or an independent enquiry – the Spanish seem genuinely astonished that a British minister should resign for the piddling offence of perverting the course of justice by having his wife take the rap for his speeding offence. Differing perspectives. Differing Rules of Law.

But it's not as if there's absolutely nothing happening here; the on-line petition seeking the resignation of President Rajoy has now garnered more than a million signatures. Personally, I'm not sure there'll be any substantive change in Spain without violence. And I'm prepared to admit that, if I were 25 and unemployed, I'd probably be thinking of how to initiate something. It's simply not true that nothing was ever achieved by violence.

Reflecting the fact there are few bums on seats, the Spanish rail organisation – RENFE – has announced an across-the-board reduction of 11% in prices for the AVE high-speed train. Plus discounts of up to 75%. Of course, all this is academic to us here in Galicia, where we suspect we'll never see the completion of the Madrid to La Coruña line, with its offshoot down to Santiago, Pontevedra and Vigo. Plans to extend this to Oporto were abandoned long ago, when the Portuguese said they had far more sensible things to spend billions on. So they are sticking with the old train that takes more than 3 hours to do the 150km journey from Oporto to Vigo.

Art Nouveau in Italy is known as Stilo Liberty, after the London store which popularised it. Incidentally, the capital of Latvia, Riga, is said to contain the finest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe. Who'd have thought it?

I'm not over fond of cats at the best of times but never less so than when the first thing I saw on returning from Madrid was a mangled robin on my lawn. Still, under the same lawn was the en-trapped mole which had been dotting it with hills. So you win some and you lose some.

Or as Thomas Carlyle put it:- No man lives without jostling and being jostled; in all ways he has to elbow himself through the world, giving and receiving offence. Especially on a Spanish pavement.

Finally . . . For the first time in 12 years, I had a 4-bed compartment to myself on Tuesday night. If anyone was snoring or coughing, I never noticed it. More importantly, was this luxury a reflection of La Crisis?

6 comments:

Alfred B. Mittington said...


To get from Oporto to Vigo, or the other way around, a sensible person takes a bus, which gets you there in 1 hour time. In Vigo it leaves from the Bus Station. In Oporto from - nunca mejor dicho - the Plaza de Galicia.

Mittington

Colin said...

Portuguese or Spanish?

Alfred B. Mittington said...


There are sensible people in Portugal as well as in Spain...

Colin said...

I meant the bus company . . . .

Alfred B. Mittington said...


Aaah... To tell you the truth I couldn't tell you. Does it matter? Both come with wheels, and a motor, and a driver, and they transport you to where you wish to go...

Al

James Atkinson said...

If you would like a fiendishly slow journey by train, may I suggest the one from Faro to Evora, assuming it's still running. It's supposed to take about 4 hours 15, it took 6 hours the when we used it. No investment in the rolling stock, much quicker and cheaper by bus unfortunately.

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