Monday, April 23, 2018

Thoughts not from Galicia, Spain: 23.4.18

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.

  • Stopping at a café on a Portuguese autopista on Thursday, I (perforce) chose one of the smallest croissants I've ever seen. On the bill it was designated 'Grande'. But this wasn't the oddest thing about the place. This honour went to its name:-
  • Reading up on Sevilla, I came upon this sentence from Richard Townsend, who was visiting the archbishop there in 1786: He kindly permitted me to kiss his ring. Hard to believe anyone would write that today. And him a vicar as well!
  • Sevilla has long been a tourist magnet but, though it's not yet the high season, the place seemed to be populated by no one other than tourists yesterday. Some perceptions:-
- 90% of people walking round looked like visitors
- More than 50% of these were Asian
-100% of the people taking rides in the horse-drawn carriages near the cathedral and Plaza de España were Asian
- The queues/lines for the Cathedral and the Alcazar suggested a wait of at least an hour in each case. - For the latter, you can't yet do what you can for the Alhambra and book a slot in advance.
  • For lunch, we decided to walk 20 minutes away from the throngs to a tapas bar in a 'quiet' barrio, only to find that the owners were taking a 2-day rest after the exertions (and profits) of the Feria de Abril.
  • I guess it's possible that the tourist numbers were a hang-over from the Feria but this was my 3rd visit to this beautiful city and I can recollect nothing like these hordes from the previous 2. If I go again, it will be mid-winter.
  • Incidentally, contra to the web page information, this year the Fiesta was a Saturday-to-Saturday event, not the traditional Sunday-to-Sunday.
  • Today, we are in Dos Hermanas, en route to Cádiz. I'm looking for signs that the place really is the centre of the gypsy-clan run heroin business.
  • When we checked in last night, I told the receptionist I couldn't understand his Andaluz accent as I live in Galicia. Given our region's drug-trafficking connections, I wasn't totally surprised that he suddenly started treating me with great respect. Or perhaps it was just my natural charm . . .
  • When I went down to advise that the card wouldn't open our room door, I was confronted by about 30 Asian ladies with luggage, all of whom seemed to want to cram into the lift before I could get out of it.
  • And this morning I gave up on using a lift, as they'd been cornered by either the same ladies or some of their compatriots.
  • Finally . . . The white wine is better in Sevilla than in Badajoz. But there was no albariño or godello on the list of the tapas bar we were able to eat in. Localism. Of course, I never expected to see American, French, Australian, South African or New Zealand wines on the menu. You could live you entire life in Spain and never know they even existed.
  • It didn't rain during the day in Sevilla yesterday. But it's miserable in Dos Hermanas this morning and forecast to rain in Cádiz today. At the very least a couple of thunderstorms. The bad spring continues.


Eamon said...

After a meal here in Galicia try saying to your host "estou farto" while trying to keep a straight face.

Maria said...

Perplected? I'd say Parfitt's reaction was more apoplectic than perplexed. I absolutely agree with him.

Colin Davies said...

Apoplectic is what I meant to write. Too much of a hurry yesterday. Have corrected it. Thanks, Maria. And I agree with him too. Lunacy. The Spanish authorities clearly have no 'feel' for how things will be seen in other countries.

Perry said...

Years ago, I assumed a couple in Toledo were Japanese & congratulated them on their Spanish. They were Mexican.