It seems that President Sarkozy has changed his mind once again and that Tony Blair’s defunct campaign to be Head Honcho in Europe is back on track. At the same time, that of Mr Miliband to be High Representative of The Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy has gone in the opposite direction. But at least he can now keep his business card the normal size.
The big news today is that Google's Street View now covers almost 80% of Spain and offers a virtual tour of many of her most magnificent monuments. Including Granada’s Alhambra, Córdoba’s grand mosque, Toledo’s cathedral, Segovia’s Roman aqueduct, and Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum. Of even greater interest in these parts is the news that you can also take a virtual walk along the Camino de Santiago, though I don’t as yet know how many of the various routes are available.
I had to smile at a (whimsical?) letter in one of our local papers today. It asked how the Galician Xunta would react to the people of the Mondoñedo area insisting on using the Breton dialect that (allegedly) only died out there in the 15th century. In place of not just Spanish but also Gallego, of course. It reminded me of something I wrote a few years ago about the restoration of Danelaw in the UK. It also reminded me that, once you start discussing the relative merits of languages, there is absolutely no limit to the arguments that can be put forward from either side.
When you read something like this, you do wonder whether there’s something to the Catalan and Basque complaints that the hard-earned money they supply to the central coffers is being badly spent down south . . .
I am a big fan of pedestrianisation in Spain’s cities. Or any cities, for that matter. And I said as much to my daughter’s partner as we walked down the newly done Calle Fuencarral in Madrid at the weekend. “Yes”, he said. “It’s great. But the problem is it immediately leads to an increase in prostitutes on the street.” Which rather endorses my view no one has the will to do anything about this shameful stain on Spanish culture.
Finally . . . I found the reference to the survey of the favourite destinations for would-be emigrants. It seems my memory was pretty accurate. As I implied last week, it takes some believing that the UK ranks higher than Spain. But, as we say oop North, there’s nowt as queer as folk.