Sunday, July 15, 2012


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?

11 comments:

trebots said...

Your ID is needed in case those two navyless maritime powers, the UK and Spain, go to war over Gibraltar, the Cies boat is rammed and sunk by the Isle of Wight ferry, and some attempt to account for the missing needs to be made.

I was out with some American charismatic evangelists, as happens, and they were surprised and somewhat comforted to discover that things are even worse here than in the 8 year Reich of Obamarx.

trebots said...

Your ID is needed in case those two navyless maritime powers, the UK and Spain, go to war over Gibraltar, the Cies boat is rammed and sunk by the Isle of Wight ferry, and some attempt to account for the missing needs to be made.

I was out with some American charismatic evangelists, as happens, and they were surprised and somewhat comforted to discover that things are even worse here than in the 8 year Reich of Obamarx.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Your ID is asked my such tourist sites (or your provenance, usually) so that the folks there can justify the service they lend, for which they need lists of locals, Spaniards and foreign tourists who come to the tourist attraction. Too few people? Next year we close you down. Or something of the sort. The ID is meant to avoid that the workers there 'make visitors up' so as to save their jobs. In the same way as they always ask for ID numbers in petitions.

I love Trebots' explanation (and it would be a much better reason that the one I give you here), but I have to say that this Tea Party Hetze against Obama is getting a little stale... You don't like the fellow? Don't vote him. You want others not to vote him? By all means: elaborate your arguments. But painting him as a Nazi with a Hitler mustache for the audacity of providing health care for the poor (something which we Europeans consider laudable and long overdue), or, alternatively, a vicious Marxist, is really a VERY POOR way of mounting a political discussion.

Yours, Alfred B. Mittington

Bill said...

I've no idea really, but thought that perhaps in case the boat sank so they could identify people - also perhaps for the tax authorities to claw back any unpaid taxes from any Spanish citizens/residents (that was my more cynical thought).

Azra said...

I could do with a boat trip to one of those Islands. It's bitterly cold here (well for us at -1 Centigrade tonight and a high of 12 tomorrow). I long for a nice beach.

Colin said...

@ Azra. Will the fotos do?

Colin said...

@Alfie. So, is someone checking the passport/NIE numbers to see whether the people really exist? To find - sometimes - that the number is false. As with the ones I always give my postman for registered mail.

Colin said...

@Alfie. So, is someone checking the passport/NIE numbers to see whether the people really exist? To find - sometimes - that the number is false. As with the ones I always give my postman for registered mail.

Azra said...

Regrettably I can't be there... so photos would have to do :)

Colin said...

On their way!

Colin said...

@Bill. Interestingly, no number was sought when the tickets were picked up - from a machine - nor at any point thereafter. Leaving me still confused as to the rationale for demanding them. It's clear that one could have given any old number to them when booking the tickets of line.

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