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
Cataluña 1: D Day nears . . . Both the Catalan and Spanish governments spout about free speech and democracy. Yet both of them are ruthlessly controlling their respective medias in their own political interests. Some democracy. See here on this.
Cataluña 2: Needless to say, although the EU has refrained from saying much, the UN Commission on Human Rights has weighed in to say that Spain mustn't trample on the Catalans' right to free speech. As is this is ever absolute!
Cataluña 3: Here's The Local (again!) on how Madrid could – and should – have engaged in more dialogue with the Catalans, most of whom don't (Query: didn't?) support secession.
Cataluña 4: The best outcome – but not necessarily the most likely – is that things will calm down and a more sensible Madrid will allow the Catalans to have, like the Scots, a legal referendum. But not very soon, as Madrid has surely assured that more Catalans would vote for secession now than they would have done 6 months ago. Or even 6 weeks ago. Maybe in 3 years. Possibly 5.
Cataluña 5: Here's the always estimable Simon Jenkins of The Guardian on the wider issue of secession. As he rightly says: Secession is a concept riddled with double standards. The only sensible conclusion is to acknowledge the right of territorial groups to some form of self-rule. That is why the issue is not secession as such, but the state centralism that is usually its cause. The conflict between Madrid and the Basques led eventually to compromise and “autonomy-lite”. This must surely be the sensible outcome of the Catalan dispute. How superior power treats inferior rights has lain at the root of politics since the dawn of time. Devolution is not an option but a necessity. [En passant . . .As someone has said, the (super)state centralism of the EU is a major factor behind Britain's 'secession' via the Brexit.]
The Basque Country: Needless to say:- Thanks to Madrid's clumsy approach to the Catalan challenge, the leading Basque party - the PNV – has withdrawn its support of the PP party's proposed budget for 2018, leaving the Government in a minority. It will be interesting to see what this means in practice. And the impact on Spain's credit rating, etc.
- Spanish: My friends at dinner last night confirmed that the phrase tener feeling has entered the language. But they stressed it means 'to get on well together' and can apply to heteros between themselves. So, 2 men or women can agree that tenemos feeling. Always in the singular, I'm told.
- English: Sologamy. Marrying yourself. See here. In the US, a website called I Married Me offers self-wedding kits. You couldn't make it up.
Galicia: I think I've mentioned there's been a gigantic increase in Camino Portugués 'pilgrims' in the last 10 years, from fewer than 7,000 in 2006 to 56,000 last year. And that 120,000 are expected in the 2021 'Holy Year'. Driving to Santiago this week on the 'old road' (the N-550), I saw clear evidence of this, in the form of more than 100 walkers at those few points where the camino goes alongside the highway for a short while. The tip of the iceberg, then. When I first did this camino in 2009, we saw fewer than 20 fellow 'pilgrims' all week. Incidentally, a few of the walkers seemed to have missed the yellow arrows taking them back on to rural tracks, or to have decided to take the (normally) shorter route alongside the main road. I didn't bother to say anything, as I've walked the camino 'backwards' and it gets annoying to be constantly told you're going the wrong way.
Talkwater seems to be a better option these days than Google Alerts. It's given me this blog on Galicia, for example. About being foreign here. Of course, the word foreign here in Galicia means anyone not from the region, including 42 million Spaniards . . .
Finally . . . My elder daughter has sent me this diagram of wine flavours. It'll surely come in handy when reading any fulsome – and otherwise unintelligible – description of a particular bottle:-