When her husband was in Germany at some award ceremony last week, the lovely queen Letizia had a night out in Malasaña with friends.
As I was there at the same time - ostensibly visiting my daughter - I've naturally had to deny media reports that we were together. After I'd generated them. But, standing at a taxi rank in Madrid, I did see the undisputed star of Spain's celebrity media - the execrable Belén Esteban. Pictured here:-
And this is the taxi she got into - displaying a picture of Spain's Mrs T-cum-Boris Johnson - Esperanza Aguirre. Who's standing for mayor of Madrid. And as future succesor to President Rajoy. As a politician who speaks English, she's quite unique here.
Spain's investment is high-speed trains - the AVE - has been truly impressive, resulting in a network second only to that of China. Sadly, it's not profitable and the consensus among experts is that it never will be. Which re-raises the question of whether the humongous sums of money wouldn't have been better spent on improving the country's not-very-good traditional network. I mean, the commissions would have been much the same.
Which reminds me . . . 70% of Spanish businessmen say corruption and bribery are common practice in Spain. This is double the average for other European countries and higher even than the 61% average for emerging markets. A true cost of doing business here. With their high penalties for this sort of thing outside their home countries, one wonders how Anglo companies get on here. Presumably by always employing Spanish directors.
An interesting finding from linguistic researchers - language development is lead by young women. Who'd have thought it?
Finally . . . Padornelo is a tiny village in the hills close to the border between Castilla y León and Galicia. It's in the middle of nowhere (El quinto pino) but I always stop there for a coffee en route to Madrid, 2 hours or so after I've set out. I mention it simply because the café has free wi-fi, with a download speed of 8Megas. Enough said.