Sunday, July 09, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 9.7.17

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

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

Life in Spain:-
  • Olive oil is important to Spain. But its crop is being threatened by a bacterium coming from Italy. Click here for more on this.
  • Antipodean wine-producers have been using screw tops for years, if not decades. With success. I don't know whether this happens in either France or Italy, but I've seen no evidence of this sensible development taking place here. And I'd be prepared to be that, in this hotbed of conservatism, it could take another 50 years. At least. See more on wine later . . .
  • The Camino de Santiago continues to grow rapidly in popularity. And does the number of 'authentic' options you can choose from. As I've said, there are now 33 of these, detailed on this site. The French Way – not the original, which is El Primitivo – remains by far the most popular but is so crowded that 'pilgrims' are now seeking a more spiritual – or at least more solitary – experience on one of the others. The Portuguese Way is the second most travelled. This – and its variants - passes through Pontevedra and the constant increase in numbers is pretty obvious. For good or evil, I watch as the vast majority of walkers enter our gem of an old quarter and then walk straight down to the bridge that takes them out of the city. Most of them have John Brierley's guide but ignore his advice to take a look at our lovely plazitas. On balance, I'm pleased about that. But to those who do come further in, I often give advice on the next stages and where to eat along the way. And sometimes I offer a tour of the old quarter. Gratis, of course. I must be mad not to make (easy) money from the more well-heeled pilgrims. Of which there are more and more. Maybe one day. Possibly a specialist massage service.
  • I see that the police have issued advice on how to have the lights on the back of your car if you've strapped a bike there. So, yet another way to fine ignorant drivers. Like the Italian one I saw being booked beside his motorhome last evening.
  • For some reason, the Galician Xunta is putting speed bumps – 'sleeping policemen' – at rather short intervals on our country roads. This has brought the locals out in revolt, holding up placards saying No! both to these and to . . . corruption. Which is a tad bizarre. If totally justified,
Here's how to cook octopus Galician style. The article gives the impression that eating this dish is largely a rural experience but it ain't. In fact, the place famous for it is a large town, Carballiño, up in the Lugo mountains. I don't much like it, wherever it's served.

In UK pubs, the standard volume of a glass of wine has risen from 125, through 175 and is now 250ml. It's actually a legal requirement to offer the 125 size but many pubs don't. These equate to 5, 4.3 or 3 glasses for a 750ml bottle, respectively. I mention this because yesterday I discovered that the measure in my regular bar – at only 94ml – equates to 8 glasses for a bottle! For the record, I was checking my suspicion that – oddly – it would be cheaper to buy 6 or 7 copas than a bottle plus 2 copas. But, of course, as the helping per copa is so small, it isn't. What all this means is that - at €5.6 - or £4.7 – a 250ml glass of local wine is not perhaps as cheap as we think it is. Or not in my regular bar at least.

Finally . . . It's the month of street performers here in Pontevedra. Here's one group of them, passing my bar last night. Or maybe not, as once again Blogger doesn't want to upload it.

So, just in case, here's some young bagpipers on one of our streets last week.

The funny thing is that I never see any of them smiling. Perhaps this is a Galician thing.

Todays' cartoon:-

Still on the Red Sea theme . . ..

We're done for, men. The Egyptians have brought their surfboards!


Maria said...

Carballedo? You must mean Carballiño, in Ourense. They are so well-known for the octopus because once upon a time, the abbeys in the interior, such as Oseira, had octopus brought from the coast, and the cooks in Carballiño, close to Oseira, perfected cooking it.

Colin Davies said...

Sorry, yes. Will correct.

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