The Spanish AVE High Speed Train: To no one's great surprise, I imagine, the 2018 introduction of the Galicia-Madrid line – promised before the December elections - is receding into the distance. I forecast the 2018 date more than 10 years ago, when the official date was a (very belated) 2012. But I've lost confidence with this prediction and am reluctant to replace it with anything other than the 12th of Never.
The EU: Were you aware that the Dutch also have their misgivings and are due to have a referendum themselves tomorrow? I wasn't. So I was interested to read this. They must be more worried than they admit in Brussels, especially as the French appear to be heading in the same direction. Meanwhile, who can be surprised that the Greek-Turkish deal designed to solve the refugee problem collapsed on Day 1? But one thing we can be sure of is that someone is making money from the chaos. With no regard for human life.
Panamanian Cash Planning: I watched RT TV News yesterday morning to see if they'd say anything about the claim that a black money trail led all the way to President Putin. Surprisingly, they did. But the usual (victim-based) take was that the West only reported on Putin and no one else. And that there's no proof. They then contradicted themselves by saying David Cameron's father was mentioned, but without adding his activities were perfectly legal. The western journalist only to happy to play his part in this deception was William Whiteman, who's worked for Moscow for almost 3 years now. And possibly has an elastic conscience. On the whole, RT preferred to indulge its obsession with the evils perpetrated by Turkey. Which may or not be justified. As an aside, RT described Nato's targeted 2% of GDP defence spend as 'very costly'. But said nothing about Russia's spend, which has increased 92% since only 2010 and now represents 3.4% of GDP and 20% of government spending. None as blind . . .
Apparitions: Did you know the Virgin Mary appears at 4pm every day in the city of Medjugorje, once in a Serbian bit of Yugoslavia but now in Bosnia and Herzegovina? And that she's been doing this for 35 years? What's more, the visionaries are still alive. Indeed, they tour the world giving accounts and examples of their art. The Vatican, to say the least, doesn't know what to do about this show and could never stop it anyway. Its biggest fear is that, if it recognises the apparitions as genuine, said visionaries could well then say something that the Vatican would deeply regret. Especially as some of the Virgin's statements to date have been 'illiterate'. Which is surprising for someone so elevated. So, all they can do is decline to recognise them and play for time via a commission charged with studying the claims. Funnily enough, during the Balkan crisis, the virgin failed to comment on the war, except to utter things which seemed to favour the infamous Serb regime. Anyway, it's a classic situation, with everyone local making money from it and the relevant bishop being in dispute with the Franciscans who are alleged to be stage-managing the affair. Or vice versa.
Another Local Distinction: The A-55 is a Galician autovía running between Vigo and the Portuguese border at Tui. It's one of the top places for national motoring fines. Mostly, I suspect, because there's a large bend in it and, unless you're local, you don't realise there's a sudden speed reduction.
Finally . . . The Way of St. James: It's purely fortuitous, of course, but this has been a huge money-spinner for the Catholic Church and many, many others over the last thousand years. Perhaps this explains why almost every year sees a new 'authentic' route starting somewhere in Spain. The most recent is the Spiritual Variant, which takes 'pilgrims' via an alternative path from Pontevedra to Padrón. And allows them to relive the experience of the (dead) St James, as his unmanned, stone boat sailed its way up the river to said Padrón. Where it tied itself to a big rock, before being found by a peasant, who took the corpse towards Santiago. Nonsense, of course, but, as they say – Whatever floats your boat. Anyway, here's the badly translated content of a web page on this:-
HISTORY OF APOSTLE ST. JAMES. THW SPIRITUAL VARIANT, THE PORTUGUESE WAY.
We propose a different alternative to part of THE CAMINO PORTUGUES of the most fun walking, bike and boat. It's an ideal plan weekend, 3 really impressive Stages combining different modalities of realisation as we relate below.
Video: Variante espiritual del Camino Portugués. [Go to the web page.]
STAGE 1 - Pontevedra - Armenteira.
At this stage we know the city of Pontevedra , awarded the Dubai International Award for being the most comfortable place to live.
Poio with its beautiful monastery known for its beauty as well as its great granary (the biggest of Galicia in area with 123.13 m2).
We pass the village of Combarro (see more) characterized as the largest village in Galicia recognized with more horreos.
An hour of continuous outstanding effort will give us the best views of the Ria de Pontevedra to reach the viewpoint of Alto del Pereiro.
One last effort and we can visualise the end of the first stage, the Monastery of the Armenteira (more) , full of magic where we can seal our credentials to get the compostela to reach Santiago.
STAGE 2 - Armenteira - Padron.
Walk accompanied by the soothing sound of the Armenteira river waters that we will enjoy all the way down until it delivers its waters to the Rio Umia, which will accompany us to the village of Pontearnelas.
We walk through villages, enjoying the scenery that the local vineyards provide, passing near some wineries (Paco & Lola Valdamor Mardefrades ) that transform the albariño grape in a great white wine.
In Vilanova , we can visit the birthplace of Valle Inclán (museum) and enjoy the local cuisine savoring the precious seafood of the estuary.
Lack bit to get to Villagarcia to board and ride the Ria de Arousa as did the body of the apostle Santiago [Yes, of course it did, in a stone boat with no one manning it].
Video: Historia de Santiago de Compostela. [Go to the web page.]
STAGE 3 - Padron - Santiago de Compostela
A high density of small population village, confirms the close presence of the target.
The last stage can be divided into two halves, a nearly flat first to the hostel Teo and a second more fatiguing to the cathedral itself. The itinerary relives the perilous journey of the disciples Teodoro and Atanasio with the body of Santiago Apostle from the landing in Puentecesures to burial in the Campus Stellae .
Another Golden Oldie . . . I am a Scorpio, by the way: