Saturday, May 09, 2009

There are some for whom the Presidenta of the Madrid region – Esperanza Aguirre – is not their cup of tea. And there are others who regard her as cojonuda (terrific). I don’t know enough about her to have much of an opinion either way. However, I’d like to send her my personal thanks for setting up the services just north of Medina del Campo on the A6, just where I (and Ryan) needed them. And where the café is one of those rare beasts in Spain – a place to eat and drink without consuming someone else’s cigarette smoke at the same time.

Talking of driving . . . I’ve mentioned that one of the cardinal rules in Spain is to look out for drivers on a roundabout who take the outside lane even when turning left and then cut across you as to try to carry on straight ahead. A second key rule is - Don’t expect drivers joining the motorway to stop at the end of the slip road. Based on my experience of learners, it’s clear they’re taught that the Yield sign doesn’t apply to anyone in a car.

A number of emotions hit me during and after the adventure of my rucksack yesterday evening. And I’ll never know whether my restraining myself from physically attacking the woman who'd taken it was a reflection of my civilised values or of my subconscious appreciation she’d surely have some unsavoury friends. But perhaps the greatest emotion one was of frustration at knowing there was nothing we could about it. As the two nearby policemen readily confirmed. Coming a close second was annoyance at myself for letting it happen, after decades of being over-cautious all over the world. Sadly, Madrid now seems to be in the same league as Barcelona when it comes to this sort of thing. And there doesn’t seem to be much political will to do anything about it in either place.

Just going back to the café in the services station on the A6 – There was a sign on the window saying it was terminantemente forbidden to eat your own food there. This was a new word for me and my guess was it corresponded to ‘strictly’ in English. Rather than ‘politely’.

Finally . . . To return to driving, it's good to know that the record for speeding in Spain is now held by a Brit. Caught doing 275kph or 168mph in his Ferrari somewhere down south this week. Brit. Rich enough to buy a Ferrari. Lives on the Costa del Sol. Somehow, I doubt that speeding is the biggest offence he's likely to have committed.

Looking for a holiday place to rent in Galicia this summer?

Click here for details of a lovely cottage in the hills outside Pontevedra. Mine, in fact.

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