Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Coming back from Vigo yesterday on the superb 'middle-distance' trains on this route, I noticed a couple of things. First, work appears to be proceeding on our bit of the high-speed AVE train tracks. But it would be hard to exceed the quality of the current train and the question remains whether money wouldn't have been better spent on remedying the century-old problem that there's only one track. Meaning that one train must get out of the way on another one coming in the opposite direction. In other words, Galicia didn't need the AVE: it just needed a decent modern train track.

The other thing was a man in his 50s or 60s, dressed in a sort of three-piece suit and with tidy, slicked-back hair. With a very short pony tail sticking out of the back of it. A far as I know, this is a privilege bestowed only on bullfighters. Or, in this case, an ex-bullfighter. As is often the way with sightings like this (especially of pretty women), I clocked him again later getting into a car in Pontevedra.

In London, those phone boxes that remain are plastered with cards for prostitutes. These are taken out every night and are back in place the next morning. It keeps someone in work. Anyway, this doesn't happen in Pontevedra and when I walked past the phone outside the health clinic this morning, I noticed there was but a single card pasted to the outside of it - from a humble painter. And no one had yet torn off one of his carefully prepared little strips with his number on. Who can afford paint when you've got food and drink to buy down in the old quarter?

All of which reminds me that today I walked into the town centre using a different route from usual. And was shocked - but not surprised - to see the number and range of shops whose windows were displaying nothing but air. It contrasts with last night when I saw two male students walking out of the shopping centre and getting into two newish cars on which the insurance alone has to be between one and two thousand euros a year. Sons of funcionarios? Successful entrepreneurs? My bet is on the former.

And now I have to go and see my lovely neighbour, Ester, in her Happy Party shop. If it's still in business. So . . .

Finally . . . Dr Osler's word of wisdom for today:-

In seeking absolute truth we aim at the unattainable and must be content with broken portions.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

But my dear Colin, how long have you been in the country?

In Spain the AVE is not a matter of Need, but a matter of Prestige (with the possible exception of Madrid-Barcelona). Additionally, it bring a nice juicy chunk of Public Works funding from Brussels, which always comes in handy.

Just try to answer me this one: who in his right mind would want to go from Coruña to Oporto or Lisbon and vice versa for either business or pleasure? What do they have in the Other Spot which they don't have Back Home?

CafeMark said...

I agree that the AVE link to Galicia is perhaps ott. But people who catch the ave from Valencia, Toledo or Segovia to Madrid, say it's normally busy. I can't verify as I no longer live in Madrid, but I've not seen anecdotes claiming the opposite. Yet.

Colin said...


I was feigning naiveté.

I'd quite like to go to Lisbon on an AVE.

Ferrolano said...

I would rather like to go from Ferrol to Sanlucar de Barrameda by AVE - it would beat ten hours of driving and may be cheaper than the petrol and the toll fees.

Ferrolano said...

Colin, do you still have your computer set to UK time? I was looking at the registered time of my comment and saw an hour different to the Spanish time of my laptop.

Colin said...

Yep. Haven't bothered as I'm back in the UK next week.

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