Sunday, April 22, 2018

Thoughts not from Galicia, Spain: 22.4.18

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.

  • Well, Badajoz was delightful and the natives as friendly as they're reputed to be. In the narrow streets of upper part of the old quarter – near the remains of the Moors' Alcazaba – there were very few people about and we were possibly the only tourists in the place. Certainly the only foreign tourists. One resident told us that a good deal of money had been spent on restoring attractions but tourists were so few that owners took a relaxed/pragmatic approach to opening hours. The city's culinary reputation was restored by an excellent lunch with decent wine in La Taberna La Nueva Santina in Plaza La Soledad. The weather continued cool and wet. One aspect of the city confused me for a short while – Information panels sometimes gave names in 2 languages, as in A Galera and La Galera. My initial reaction was to wonder why they were giving the Gallego alternative, and then it dawned on me it was Portuguese. I was reminded of a panel back in the bones place in Zafra, where there was Portuguese, English and French, but no Spanish. I've noticed this before and wondered whether it indicated a certain apathy towards their richer, 'arrogant' neighbours.
  • In contrast to Badajoz, based on reading bumf on the place, my expectations for Zafra were high but – almost inevitably - I found it to be a tad disappointing. Perhaps because of the non-stop showers.
  • Thanks to all the unseasonal rain, Extremedura is currently as green as Ireland. Which is a turn up for the books.
  • There are unusual place names all over the world, of course, but I regularly wonder whether Spain isn't unusually rich in these. I've mentioned Deadcat (Gatomorto) back home in Galicia and, maybe, Killthemoors (Matamoros) but yesterday saw a few more added to the list. Calzada de los dos Barros (Road of the two Muds), Fuente de Cantos (Spring of Songs) and Culebrín (Little Snake?) being 3 of them. And I did wonder whether Ronquillo was connected with the Spanish for snoring - ronquidos - but it appears not.
  • It's 8.45 and it's not raining. Yet. But it's forecast to do so in Sevilla today.


Alfred B. Mittington said...

First things first. You may wish to correct your translation of Matamoros. Which is not, as you well know, 'killthejews'...

And then I will graciously share my arcane historical knowledge with you. 'Matamoros' has nothing to do with nasty intentions towards the Moorish population of the past. 'Matamoros' is a pretty ancient word for large, dug in or underground grain storage jars, which, once filled to the brim after the harvest, would be sealed air tight. The top layers of the grain then still started to ferment, but this used up all the oxygen in the jar, preserving the remaining cereals for up to a couple of years.

A nice historical anecdote has it that, in time of true shortage, people also took to eating the fermented top layers; which caused them hallucinations and apocalyptical visions, since it contained a mildly toxic fungus. Some historians see this as the explanation of much religious madness in the Middle Ages.

Your are welcome!


Maria said...

Place names outside Galicia seem strange and rich sometimes. Though one that you mention might be more normal. Fuente de los Cantos can also mean Fountain of the Rounded Stones. A canto is a rounded stone. Though it is nice to think of sirens singing in the light of the moon around the fountain.