Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Franklin electronic translator continues to disappoint. Today it couldn’t give me either de fogueo (‘firing blanks’: think the Spanish football team) or barroco (‘Baroque/arty farty’: ditto). But it did give me ‘canvas’ for lona. So all is not lost.

The Spanish – as everyone who lives here knows – just love paper. But it sometimes seems they’re averse to actually dealing in it. By which I mean they have a very strong preference for producing paper but then, rather than sending it to you, they insist you take time out to visit them so you can discuss things face-to-face. I can understand them not wanting to risk the snail-mail but why not email? I had not just one but two examples of this today. So it’s a good job I walk into town every day. To be honest, I’ve no idea whether this would happen in, say Madrid or Barcelona. It may only be a feature of towns where everyone is pretty much within walking distance of everyone else. And perhaps less concerned with the wasting of someone else’s time.

I’m currently writing up my camino experiences, for later posting on my Galicia web page.  For now, I just want to mention the Hotel Herradura in the centre of Santiago. This is a 3-star hotel which deserves at least 4 and possibly 5. It’s superbly located for the old quarter and fitted out to a very high level. Even more impressively, the staff are truly excellent, motivated by the example of the exceptionally-attentive owner. If you’re planning to stay in the centre of Santiago, you should check on availability but I wouldn’t bother for this year. The hotel has a deservingly high occupancy rate, born of satisfied word-of-mouth such as this. Maybe next year.

The Spanish unions now say their general strike will be on September 29th, which gives plenty of time to get all the summer fiestas out of the way. The leader of one of the unions has called for a change of government. As this can’t really mean he wants the right-of-centre PP opposition to take over, it can only be a demand that President Zapatero falls on his sword. And not before time, many would say.

Meanwhile, courtesy of my American friend Dwight, here’s a timely bit of perspective on the Spanish debt crisis from the Wall Street Journal.


Mike the Traditionalist said...

Colin after you find what the English word for the Spanish is (which is not listed in your translator) go to the English to Spanish step and enter the word in English. You might be surprised to find the word is given in Spanish but not the other way round. I wonder if these translators are favoured to finding English to Spanish rather then the reverse.

justinesmith9 said...

I'm looking forward to your Camino writings Colin.I have some excellent photos as does Jill.If you would like some of them please let me know and I'll forward them to you.Hope you're well.I'm back at work and looking at the sunshine through my surgery window - thankfully it's the weekend so I should be able to get out and enjoy some of it.Regards Justine

Colin said...


I tried 'gaffe' and got 'plancha', not pifia. God knows why.

Typing 'plancha' in Spanish doesn't, of course, give me 'gaffe'. But this site has it as the 4th definition of 'plancha'.

Bizarre. And not encouraging.

Colin said...

Hi, Justine.

Lovely to hear from you. Yes, would appreciate seeing your fotos and will include some on my web page, with your permission at the time.

Please send to

Pleased to see you have the prospect of some sun. I think we do too, after the days of rain which contributed to my low mood after everyone left. But elder daughter here next week, so something to look forward to.

All the best.

Mike the Traditionalist said...

Colin my Oxford one says plancha fourth definition - colloq.. boob
so that fits gaffe and pifia. I have been playing with different dictionaries for a few years now and having a device where you can have as many as you like (if you have the funds to burn) you can spend all day getting different definitions till you find something you like. Of course one problem arises in that you can choose a word to use and get people staring at you. If someone asks you the time and you reply in Spanish it has just struck four you will get some funny looks.