Palencia has several fine churches and a cathedral. I only got to see 3 of the former and each, in its own way, was impressive. But they all fuse together in the memory. Except for the one attached to the convent of Sta Clara. For, in this one there was a permanent grill at the back of the church, through which the nuns could see and hear the Mass and the nuns could be observed at prayer. Which all felt a tad medieval. But the lasting memory is of the five or six nuns there all being below five feet, or 150cm. This rather endorsed my theory that every Spanish family is forced to send any daughter below this height to a nunnery. Though I've also wondered whether nuns in Spain aren't all put in some sort of press immediately after they joined the order. To be more serious, each of them clearly had some difficulty in moving, though only one of them looked particularly old. A result of spending so much time on their knees, maybe.
Back in the real word – There's something odd about a city which names one of its crossroads Square of the European Constitution and one of its main arteries Avenue of Human Rights. A left-wing council, one assumes.
And in the real, real world – The previous mayor of Alicante has been arraigned for corruption, alongside the current one. A family affair?
290 kilos of cocaine have been stolen from a police lock-up in Cádiz. The fourth time in so many years this had happened. The thieves broke in from an adjacent building. Spanish has a special word for such a hole – Un butrón. Which may or may not say something.
Satnavs – Don't you just hate them! Driving from Palencia to Pontevedra this afternoon, I became increasingly irritated with the instruction to turn off every time we approached a junction. I'd told the satnav to take me to my Home address and so I couldn't fathom its bolshie behaviour. After an hour or so, though, I realised I'd set Palencia as my Home address yesterday afternoon. So, the satnav, poor thing, was driving itself mad trying to take me back to where I'd come from. I apologised and put it out of its misery.
Here's a tip for those driving on Spain's wonderful autovias and (expensive) autopistas – Unless you're desperate for petrol(gas), don't go off unless you can actually see the petrol station signposted off the main highway. The reason is that, as today, you may see a couple more signs and yet never come upon a petrol station. Particularly if the sign is for Allariz – a pretty place, made even more attractive by not being scarred by a purveyor of petrol. Happily, though, it's only another 12km to a real Repsol station, visible beside the A52.
Another sign of the times – Shops/kiosks buying gold in Barcelona have risen in number from 82 in 2006 to 589 this year. I wonder if the prices paid reflect the recent increases in the price of gold.
Leaving the Alfajería in Zaragona, I called in the first bar I came to for a shandy. The owners were Chinese and I had difficulty getting them to understand what I wanted. When I later went to pay, the husband had disappeared and so I spoke to the wife. She clearly didn't have a word of Spanish and had to ask her 10 year old daughter to translate. And so it was I got a shandy for one euro from a woman with one of the prettiest smiles in Spain. On reflection, perhaps I should have tried English.
Finally . . . When I first came to Spain, I was told that the Local Police were the lowest of the several levels - five? - in Spain. Little more than clowns or country bumpkins, it was suggested. Well, here are two of them providing some proof of the veracity of this claim. Oddly enough, it's said it was the wife of one of them who posted this job-destroying video on the internet. Showing there's someone even more stupid than her husband.