Thursday, April 11, 2013

Death diced with me yet again today, when a woman either failed to notice a car had already stopped for us pedestrians or couldn't care less. But at least she had the decency to look sheepish as she raced past in front of me at at least 40kph. Meaning she didn't hear the pithy epithet I directed at her.

Someone has proved that Galicia's premium white wine, Abariño, has the same beneficial properties as red wine. Which is inescapably good news. And which reminds me that attempts are going to be made to grow white wine grapes up north in Ferrol. Which, again, has to rank as good news

I've recently been making hotel bookings up in the Galician hills, ahead of a May 'pilgrimage'. Or camino. After noting that a couple of only one-star places merited more, I asked an owner why her hotel didn't have a higher rating. “Well,” she said, “there are fiscal considerations.” I take this to mean that, as I've heard, proprietors will seek the lowest award they can get as this helps them reduce costs. After all, if you've got the only hotel in the village, why do you need more than one star?

Up in the hills, I ordered potre(foal) for lunch but I suspect I was brought ternera(young beef). Who can one trust these days?

Spanglish: Well escrache may or may not derive from scratch, but I'm pretty sure esprintar comes from sprint. Especially as that's what it means – to sprint.

The first quarter passenger numbers for Galicia's 3 airports are out and they make grim reading, especially for Vigo and La Coruña. Santiago's were also down but not to the same extent as the others. Meanwhile North Portugal's facility in Oporto continues to grow at the expense of all three and to welcome ever more Galicians looking for a convenient flight. Or just a flight. And the Galician response? To continue the bankrupt café-para-todos strategy of retaining all 3 airports and giving each a 'specialisation'. With local pride is at stake, this economic illiteracy could continue for years. Perhaps until all 3 of them go under. The Portuguese must have sore ribs.

One of the more disappointing news items of the last week is that La Crisis has possibly dealt a death blow to Spain's burgeoning solar panel industry. The government has, inevitably, slashed grants and subsidies, leaving investors with heavy losses. So, will I still see all those acres of panels as I drive to and from Madrid?

Only in Spain?: There's a club for the nation's elite in Madrid. But it's not as private as you might expect; it's owned by the city. Which I can't imagine is true of, say, The Atheneum in London. Or its namesake in Manchester.

Finally . . . I have to apologise to Spanish supermarkets for claiming they rarely, if ever, innovate. There were 2 example of this in Mercadona tonight. I knew they were novelties because each of them had a banner saying NOVEDAD above them. The first was microwavable rice (3 different types!) and the second was Steinberg alcohol-free beer. I ask you!

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