Friday, September 05, 2014

Democracy in Spain; Estremadura; Dangerous walking; Musical walking; Mucho humo; & Ticket pricing.


'Democratic Regeneration': Having had a near-death experience in last year's Santiago train disaster, a member of the ruling PP party has been motivated to resign and to say what she thinks about the way it goes about its business. Click here.

Having had a wonderful week down in Estremadura with my elder daughter, I rather liked this comment on that bit of Spain: Take a Spanish region that’s the size of Belgium yet still undiscovered by the Brits and even overlooked by most Spaniards. Fill it with fairytale towns and villages, three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a National Park. Top it off with the best ham in the world, no arguments allowed from Italy! This isn’t a figment of some estate agent’s wild imagination or a tour operator’s over-the-top brochure; it’s just Extremadura, where I’ve made my home these last fifteen years. More here.

Irritated by the latest near-miss - as I went to turn left and a young man on a bike sped past within an inch or two - I've finally decided to walk in town with a walking stick held horizontally. With luck, I'll knee-cap as least one cyclist.

Talking about walking . . . As I crossed the bridge into town today, I came up behind 2 young gypsy women who were serenading the people coming the other way. Who weren't obviously appreciative. One of the gypsy mothers had in tow a young girl who looked at me with the brightest of blue eyes, while picking her nose. I smiled at the ladies as I passed and was greeted with an increase in volume of both the song and the flamenco clapping. But nothing like the response when - 10 metres later - I turned round and conducted them for a few seconds. I hope it stands me in good stead if I ever have a run-in with my colourful neighbours.

A nice Spanish phrase: Mucho humo y pocas nueces. 'A lot of smoke but few walnuts'. Or 'Much ado about nothing'. Or even 'Full of sound and fury signifying nothing'. Both from Shakespeare's pen, of course. Or Bacon's, if you prefer. Or the Earl of Oxford's even.

Finally . . . I mentioned I'd had a crushing experience on a bus in Vigo a couple of days ago. The ticket for my journey cost €1.32. Which rather suggests to me that the company is run by the local council and not a commercial entity.

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