Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 21.6.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain. 

Note: If you've arrived here because of an interest in Galicia or Pontevedra, see my web page here.

Life in Spain:-
  • Last week saw the 40th anniversary of the birth of modern democracy in Spain. El País celebrated this with a 94[sic] page supplement. I wonder if anyone read all of it. Or any of it, in fact.
  • The Spanish tax office - the Hacienda - is now going after the Portuguese football manager, José Mourinho. It's good to see them seeking belated taxes from big names. But my impression is that, strangely, all these appear to be foreign - Messi, Ronaldo and now Mourinho.
  • Reading the book on English manners I cited yesterday, I began to wonder what the hidden rules of behaviour are in the Spanish culture. Assuming - in this country of very different regions - that such a monolith exists. I might start to write something. Suggestions very welcome.
  • The ECB has demanded that Spain investigates the capital flight from Banco Popular prior to its demise. Can't see this happening, myself. Spain's government is adept at ignoring rules and instructions it doesn't like. And at stretching out the appeal process until people in Brussels fall off their perches. Spanish criminals and their lawyers likewise.
Spain's right wing PP government is adept at stirring up passions around Gibraltar. Especially when it needs to distract attention from, say, its atrocious record on corruption. That last one was to say it would kibosh a Brexit deal, if it didn't get joint sovereignty over The Rock. So, I wonder what this development signifies.

As for said Brexit . . . Yesterday seems to have been the (much expected) first humiliation for the British negotiators. Hardly surprising, since they'd been sent into the room naked. See this site today and yesterday for the caustic comments of Richard North - a Brexiteer who, as I've noted, has long despaired of any intelligence among the British government and the 'serious' media. Like me, he might well believe that Brexit should be abandoned, if things continue as they are now.

Here's a foto of Pontevedra's Sunday flea market, or rastrillo. It seems the (unlicensed) gypsies have once again been banished but I confidently expect a return appearance. Quite soon.

And here's one looking in the opposite direction. To show you the dreadful new museum building at the end of the street. Truly a blot on the old quarter. But designed, of course, by a famous Galician architect.

I've noted that the number of camino 'pilgrims' passing through Pontevedra has rocketed upwards in the last few years. And that the forecast is for a doubling of last year's total within 5 years. Here's some data on this.

 I have to say that - when I did the first camino with a group of old friends in 2010 - there didn't seem to be that many more pilgrims than in earlier or later years. The numbers rose that year because it was a 'Holy Year', when the Vatican - on behalf of the Catholic god - dishes out more indulgences than usual. But at least it doesn't sell them any more.

Among the reasons for the increase on the Camino Portugúes are:-
  • Folk are finding the Camino Francés far too crowded these days
  • It's very pretty and not too difficult
  • The Portuguese and the Galicians are very welcoming people, and
  • A new variant of this essentially commercial enterprise is invented every couple of years. Always 'authentic' of course.
Finally . . . And still on things religious . . . While writing this, I've been half-watching an exposé of this 'enterprising' French priest, who became rich through fraud. Including perhaps the world's first phony begging advert: Poor parish priest needs cash to say Masses. You have to take your biretta off to him.

Today's cartoon:-

Also about misplaced faith . . . .

Open Sesame!


Perry said...

I must put the kibosh on kibash. Here is a wonderful selection of synonyms: check, curb, stop, halt, quash, block, cancel, scotch, thwart, frustrate, prevent, quell, suppress, squelch, scupper, spike, stymie put a stop to, put paid to, bring to an end, put an end to, nip in the bud.

Here are the Google translator versions: bloquear, bloquear, cancelar, frenar, frenar, impedir, sofocar, suprimir, squelch, scupper, pico, stymie poner fin a, poner a pagar, poner fin a, poner fin a, pellizcar en el brote. Oh schadenfreude!

Sierra said...

Didn't appreciate the Caminos are marketed - stopped in an autovia service station today, and the "Primitivo" is advertised on the sugar sachets!

Perry said...

Amazon Prime offers next day delivery & access to many TV series. The first Amazon series of

has just finished at episode 8, but Neil Gaiman's proposition that gods exist only because people believe in them is mirrored in Sierra'a observation about the necessity for advertising the Primitivo on sachets of sugar. is nicely weird as well.

Sierra said...

Perry - hope you're saving your euros - Amazon will probably be increasing their charge for Prime to cover the cost of videos, as happened in UK - now £79 there

Perry said...

£6-58 per month is not expensive, Going to the cinema is expensive. Sky is expensive, for what one gets. The only terrestrial TV I watch is Versailles season 2 on catch up. I could wait for it on Amazon, where season 1 is now playing. For now, I am preoccupied with how to accommodate
over 70 feet of 3.5" railway track & 4 turnouts into the back garden landscape. We have one of these Hornby G100 Rocket live steam locomotives. Dutch video.

I've removed the boiler for hydraulic testing; safety first! I'm also going to get a quote for a new, larger boiler with higher pressure. That will enhance performance. The original boilers are very small.

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