Which Country?: It's mired in corruption and people are very unhappy about a long recession. The country's politicians are protected by special judicial treatment and trials often end because time has run out under a statute of limitations. Well, it could be one of quite a few, of course. Even Spain. But, when I say the President is being impeached you'll immediately alight on Brazil. Interesting question . . . Could President Rajoy ever be impeached on the same grounds. I rather doubt it.
The Vatican and Syrian Refugees: My thanks to those readers who pointed out that a fellow-reader – the Pope – had been so stung by my comments that he'd immediately selected 12 lucky folk - apostles? - to take back to Rome. The word, as has been said, is mightier than the sword. Which reminds me . . . Did you notice that the Vatican – stuck in the 1st century of the CE era – has refused to accept the French ambassador because he's gay? So much for cheap words from the Pontiff.
German Power: Looking at her encouragement of a million refugees, her bizarre deal with Turkey and her willingness to see a comedian prosecuted for saying funny things about the Turkish president, is it valid to worry that Europe is once again in the hands of someone quite mad? Albeit this time without any invasion plans. As far as we can tell . . . .
My life in Spain: This is overwhelmingly good, whatever the impression you might get from reading this blog. And this account of things which have happened to me in the last 48 hours will show why:
- Walking through a small park, I was approached by a girl of about 10, who asked me whether I wanted a hug. When I asked why, she looked disconsolate and so I agreed and got a huge abrazo/aperta in return. I can't imagine this happening in the UK but I was glad she was one of a group of young girls and there was a smiling lady in attendance.
- Shopping for my last item of camino clothing, I saw the look of fright on the sales guy's face as he saw a guiri enter the shop. But, as soon as I smiled and spoke to him in Spanish, he relaxed and became extremely helpful in guiding me to another shop. The moral? Try to deal in the 3 Ss when you do anything here: Smile, Say Hello and Speak in Spanish. Sorry, 4.
- Last night, I spent another very pleasant evening with passing pilgrims – three lovely Dutch folk who all spoke excellent English. Is there anyone not lovely in The Netherlands?
- Shopping in an ironmongers for extra rubber ferrules for my walking poles, I tried to stop the guy from wrapping them in brown paper and then sellotaping the small package. But he insisted on this (unwanted) service. Then, having told me they'd cost all of €1.80, he said €1.50 would be fine. But I prevailed in respect of this battle.
- Yesterday morning, my famous neighbour, Ester – having kept me waiting for 45 minutes (which she insisted was 'only 10') - gave me a lift into town. Looking for a place to park, she drove round and round a small square 4 or 5 times. Feeling nauseous, I told her I was delighted by this, as I'd never really looked at the building which dominates the square. She took this as a serious comment but when I told her I was dizzy, she insisted on driving around it again. Only when I told her I was going to vomit did she stop to let me out. I then hit my head on the door frame as I got down from her people-carrier. How we laughed.
- Here's a foto of a snake of little kids that one occasionally sees on the street here. I wasn't arrested for taking it.
- The latest female driver to almost hit me in the middle of a zebra crossing couldn't wave an apology to me because her free hand was holding a mobile phone to her ear.
- Irritated by the 20 pigeons who landed on and under the café table next to mine yesterday morning, I rolled up my paper and managed to hit two of them. As the feathers flew, I returned to my table and noticed that a horrified 5 year old nearby was being consoled by her mother. Should do wonders for my reputation.
Finally . . . Galicia. Here's something on the early history of our region I chanced upon yesterday. Needless to say, I'm one of the sceptics when it comes to the region's claim to Celtic exclusivity.
A Brief History of Roman Galicia
Before the Romans arrived in Galicia, it was a land of tribes with origins that are still uncertain. Many researchers suggest that the local tribes mixed with Celts who arrived in Galicia from Ireland or Brittany, but others believe that the Celtic aspect of Galicia is a fairy tale.
Unfortunately, most of the knowledge about the tribes which lived in Galicia before the Roman invasion is also unknown. According to the Romans, people who they met in Galicia were “barbarians”, who spent the day fighting and night eating, drinking, dancing, and worshiping their ancient deities. More recent research shows that they were not as primitive as the Romans wanted to depict them. They probably had a feudal model of society, much more advanced than many people believed.
The first time Galicia appeared as an important location of a historical battle were the times of the Punic Wars between the Carthaginians and Romans. The southern part of Galicia was also perhaps an important place for Phoenecians. During the Punic Wars, Hannibal decided to recruit many Galician people in his army. Henceforth, Galicians didn't want to become a part of the Roman Empire.
After conquering Iberia, the Romans had to face the Galician army in 137 BC during the battle at the river Douro. The army of c. 60,000 Galicians was destroyed by the Romans. The man who led the army – Decimus Junius Brutus – returned to Rome as a hero. At the end of his campaign, the Romans controlled the area of Galicia placed between the rivers Douro and Minho. The second invasion in 61 BC, led by Julius Caesar, took other parts of the region as well.