Off the coast of southern Galicia lie several beautiful islands - Las Islas Atlánticas. These are accessible by boat from one or more of the coastal towns. Though, not,sadly, from Pontevedra. Lying at the end of the ría (fjord/estuary), perhaps it doesn't qualify as a true coastal town. Anyway, I went today with friends to the largest of the islands, Cies, whose beach was recently voted the finest in Europe, if not the world. Quite a few things have changed since my last visit five or six years ago but none of these has spoiled the island in any way. And it was good to see the more modern boats, the more helpful staff, the improved jetty, the new and efficient-looking campsite and a much expanded (and friendly) Information service. By which I mean they pretended to be amused at the attempts at humour of myself and my American friend, Dwight. Why, there were even some attempts at compliance with the diktats of Health&Safety. Specifically, the rather half-hearted touching of your elbow as you climbed in and out of the boat via the (new) aluminium steps. All-in-all, a most enjoyable day.
While we were having a sundowner in Vigo, en route to the car, Dwight's friend Penny asked me if I'd seen what had been stamped on each of the tables in the boat we came back on - nothing less than a citation of HMS Victory and the Battle of Trafalgar. Since Spain lost all of what remained of her fleet in this engagement - it seems a strange thing for a Spanish boat to be celebrating. And it makes one wonder about the history of the vessel, now named after one of the Atlantic Islands. Perhaps a couple of Britain's SAS had slipped aboard one night and stamped the names into each of the tables as a sort of (nasty) maritime joke. The Iranians would certainly believe that, given their flattering perception of what Britain is capable of.
Nice to see the EU - an organisation not famed for its democratic credentials - is calling for more democracy in Rumania. Probably also calling for budget contraction while expanding its own. Que cara!
Which reminds me . . . Cyprus (yes, Cyprus) has recently taken over the (ever revolving) presidency of the EU, allowing her representative to appear on TV flanked by the other two, more-permanent, presidents. Of whom Barroso is one and the Luxemburger poet the other. Sorry, can't recall his name but he's supposed to be quite powerful. In his own, grey, way. All a bit of a farce really. They should all be replaced by the single figure of Mrs Merkel.
Finally, and going back to the boat trip . . . When Dwight bought the tickets for all of us in advance, he was asked for everyone's ID number. Try as I might, I can't come up with a rational explanation as to why these would be wanted. Especially as the tickets were collected from a machine near the departure point and the numbers weren't asked for there. Can anyone think a plausible reason?