Saturday, November 12, 2011

Here are a few more observations from Michener's book Iberia. They were made in the late 60s, and not the 15th century:-

This is part of the address of a senior admiral to the statue of St James (Santiago) on the 25th of July 1968. One would be forgiven for believing the statue was human. Or divine:-

- Spain will never forget that she received the Light of Faith and the Doctrine of Christ from your lips nor that you selected these marvellous lands of Galicia for the repose of your glorious remains. Every year on this day we come to hear your message of apostolic impatience, which is like a sunrise testimony which reaches into our blood and fills it with fidelity and missionary zeal.

We will never permit either error or false doctrine to snatch away our great treasure of Religious Unity, the foundation of our political and social unity, which thanks to you, O Glorious Apostle, we have enjoyed during these past thirty years.

- The two excursions outside Santiago take me through the countryside of Galicia, which hardy English travellers have considered the best region in Spain. . . Even a few miles' travel into the countryside of Galicia shows the observant traveller the secret of this land: the granite rock which is both the glory and the curse of the region.

- The reader has probably noticed [as if!] that the Way of St James lacked one thing to make it an almost perfect pilgrims' route: nowhere was the cult of the Virgin Mary exploited, so that a good half of the mystical wonder of the Catholic Church was unprovided for. . . . It fell to the little town of Pontevedra to correct this. There . . . a new cult grew up around a legend claiming that the Virgin Mary had been the first pilgrim to the tomb of Santiago, who had given his life for her son. [This tripe would be bad enough from a Catholic but Michener is a Quaker!]

- Percebes: Much of the excitement of eating these stems from the fact that each year men lose their lives gathering the repulsive things. When served, they look like a plate of miniature rotting turkey legs with the skin on the legs turned black and flabby and the nails on the toes become coarse. But when the skin has somehow been torn away, beneath lies a stem of delicious, chewy meat somewhat like octopus, while the hideous toes, if properly gouged, can be tricked into giving up morsels of solid meat which is much like the best crab. [In my view, not worth the bloody effort but there are some reasonably intelligent people who take the opposite view and reject my suggestion that it's like eating a bit of inner tube which has been dipped in salty water. I don't much like octopus either.]

1 comment:

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