Monday, March 05, 2018

Thoughts from Galicia, Spain: 5.3.18

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.

Spain
  • Franco is dead, yes. But Francoism is clearly still breathing in many circles, and it is not only disturbing but repulsive. Click here for Tim Parfitt's explanation for this comment of his. I imagine the Dutch author Vincent Werner would agree with him. As I do.
Portugal
  • For years I've been directing friends to the church of Sao Nicolas in Oporto, to marvel at the fabulous work in wood and gold leaf I saw there back in 1999. On more recent visits, the church was usually closed but, when I finally got to re-visit it last year, I had the uncomfortable feeling it wasn't the place of my recollection. This was confirmed on Saturday when I re-visited the nearby church of Sao Francisco. This is a mind-boggling example of baroque and rococo art. But it's not the only one in Oporto. Up near the cathedral and rather hidden away is the small church of Santa Clara. This has no pillars, so there's nothing between you and its altar, its mudejar ceiling and its walls formed entirely of baroque woodwork. Here are some fotos, the first few at least. You might or might not like it but it's truly breathtaking. Here and here are brief guides to these two churches.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, Oporto must surely house some of the ugliest modern buildings you'll see anywhere in the world. Along the early bit of Avenida de Buena Vista, for example. No words could do justice to them.
Italy
  • An implausible conservative coalition including far-right parties and led by Silvio Berlusconi appears to the greatest hope for pro-European centrists. A diplomat from a neighbouring country commented: “God help us and God help Italy if Berlusconi is the great white hope for Europe.”
  • Here's a list of the 12 people (all men) who John Hooper thinks have ruined Italy. I imagine our Dutch author friend could come up with a similar list for Spain.
The USA
  • Donald Trump just lost his fifth White House communications director in his 13-month presidency, but the real communications chief remains: the president himself. Guaranteeing us years of laughter and tears. Sometimes simultaneously.
The UK and Brexit
  • As if we didn't know . . . Because our Government is living week to week, like a dog intent only on its next meal, it has allowed itself to be turned around and dragged forwards by the tail. Which is Northern Ireland at the moment.
  • Richard North again: If we had chosen to leave the EU but remain in the wider European Economic Area, none of this crisis need have arisen. But the result is that Mrs May has landed herself in an impasse from which there is now no way out. . . .  The task for the saner forces on both sides of the Channel now amounts to damage limitation, trying to avoid the worst. 
Nutters Corner
  • Florida State Senator, Kelli Stargel: If I thought for one moment that, if we banned assault weapons, all of these tragedies would end, you would have me. I would be with you.  But thoughts and prayers are really the only thing that’s gonna stop the evil from within the individual who is taking up their arms to do this kind of a massacre. Are these mad religionists really doing the work of the Devil they believe in?
Finally
  • Interesting to discover at the World of Discoveries that Brazil's name comes from the Portuguese for 'fiery' – abrasado. Because of the numerous red trees observed by the newcomers.
  • Either the Oporto town hall changes things very regularly or my GPS has no idea which of the city's streets are one-way. Which can be very frustrating/irritating.
Today's Cartoon


4 comments:

Az said...

Hey Colin. We miss you on Facebook. Hope all is well.

Colin Davies said...

How kind of you, Azra. Things are extremely good with me, thanks. I've been wondering how and where you were. Have you given up blogging??

Colin Davies said...

Oh, I see you haven't. But I haven't had 'azraqui.com' in my RSS feed. It is now.

Az said...

Yes, I have been blogging more regularly these days. I miss it. So good to hear that you are well!