Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thoughts not from Galicia, Spain: 26.5.18

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.

  • Yesterday I wrote something positive about the Cercanias system. Today I have to report that both my credit and debit cards were rejected when I tried to pay for tickets at a machine. 
  • And then there was this conversation with the employee standing by next to it:-
Does this take debit and credit cards?
Yes, it does.
Well, it rejected both of mine.
Yes, it does take them.
Our old Dutch friend, Mr Werner, would recognise this transaction. No apology and no attempt to check whether mine really would work. Just a useless assurance that they should.
  • Cádiz has, naturally, been adversely affected by the tourism from which it hugely benefits. At a very un-busy bar, we were told they wouldn't bring the drinks to a table on the terrace, so we'd have to take them there ourselves. No big deal, of course, but not what one expects in Spain.
  • This is what  Roman theatre in Cadiz used to look like:-

And this is what's left of it:-
  • Above what was the magnificent stage there's now an ugly block of flats, complete with washing hanging from windows. Sic transit gloria mundi.
  • They've spent a lot of money on a small but very decent Interpretation Centre at the theatre. Inter alia, there's a  nice video in both Spanish and English on the audiences and the performers. Sadly, the money didn't stretch to paying a nominal fee to a native speaker to check the translation. I guess someone's relative did it. Though not too badly, it has to be said.
  • The old city really is a gem and, if you have plenty of time, it merits wandering around the narrow streets of the medieval quarter, where prices for food and drink seem remarkably low. Some specific advice:-
  • If you're buying a Cercanias ticket at a station, don't use the Renfe machine, as this will automatically charge you an extra 50 cents for a rechargeable card that you're never likely to use again.
  • If you're searching for the Mughal Indian restaurant at 13, Calle Plocia, this is what it is now:-

  • If you're hoping to enter the Old Cathedral when it opens at 17.30, it's best to go there for around 18.00. Which might or might not be the new official opening time. The chap who opened the door was sitting on the stops, doing puzzles, from 17.45. So it's hard to know whether he was late or early.
  • As a general rule, it's wise not to arrive at a place you want to see at or before the billed opening time.
  • If you're wanting to eat lunch in a decent place, Los Nieves in Plaza Mendizabal fits the bill. Especially if you can't find the Mughal place. It really is as good as the reviews suggest.
  • The excellent Turismo map of the city sets out 4 different routes. It's a good idea to follow one or more of these. It helps that the relevant colour is painted on the cobbles.

  • I have to admit I didn't know that Cádiz was sacked by a joint English-Dutch force in 1596, just 8 years after the disastrous attempt by the Spanish Armada to invade England in 1588.
  • In particular, I didn't know there were 2 later failed Armada attempts – in 1596 and in 1597. As with the first one, both were hit hard by storms – the first in the Bay of Biscay and the second near England.
  • It's interesting – almost amusing - to note that the incompetent chap in charge of the 1588 Armada - the Duke of Medina Sidonia was also responsible for the (woeful) Cádiz defences in 1596. In 1606, astonishingly still in command of something, he had yet another maritime failure – 'because of his obstinacy and folly' - this time against the Dutch alone. After which I think he was gracefully retired.
  • But he's (understandably) commemorated in a Dutch cartoon history for kids, called Van Nul tot Nu, in which he's known as Tante Sidonia. Or 'Aunty Sidonia'. I wonder if he'd go along with Oscar Wilde's witticism that: There's only one thing worse than being talked about. Not being talked about. I rather doubt it.
  • As of yesterday, Banco Sabadell/TSB was still having problems in the UK. Or, rather, its customers were. Will heads fall? Possibly in the UK, if not in Spain.
  • Another list from The LocalWhy Spaniards are staring at you
  • News of a Spanish city's revolt against Airbnb and the like. A harbinger of things to come? Or just another string of court cases?
  • On the tourist theme, it's reported that Brits, at least, are finally doing - to the detriment of Spain - what's been forecast for a whle; they're returning to those tourist spots hit by terrorism, Turkey in particular. Never mind the repression, the holidays there are even cheaper than in merely authoritarian Spain.
  • Spain's President Rajoy has finally been forced to take a decision. In order to get his budget passed, he's made concessions to angry pensioners.
  • Finally . . . This was the Presidenta of Madrid the day before yesterday insisting that she'd stick things out until the very last day, whenever that might be:-

This turned to be the very next day, yesterday, when Rajoy finally forced her to fall on her sword. Not because of her phony Masters qualification but because of a video showing her about to leave a shop without paying for face-creams. Albeit a few years ago.
  • You have to feel sorry for the lady. As PP party crooks go, she's very small fry indeed. The big fry remain immune. But I guess she'll be a director of Telefónica or Endesa very soon.
  • So, it was a really big day for Rajoy . . . He made not just one but two decisions.
  • This is the essence of (OTT/baroque or at least garish, Spanish) Catholicism – Virgins, pain, and death.

  • And here's a rather unusual Jesus. A black one:-

All from Cadiz's Old Cathedral. The one which replaced a predecessor which had been destroyed by the dastardly Protestant English and Dutch alliance in the 16th century.

1 comment:

Sierra said...

Railways - after 11+ years the construction of a railway by-pass to our village is complete - it includes a new station to replace the one in the village - which was closed in 2002!