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.
- Just going back to the Puerto Real street called The Cross of the Woman Who Had Her Throat Cut. In Spanish this is La Calle del Cruz de La Degollada. And I've now seen these definitions: Degollar. 1. to cut/slit the throat of a person; to slaughter an animal; 2. to behead; 3. to massacre. So, una degollada might mean a massacre that took place there during the Civil War, not 'merely' the throat-cutting of a single woman. But it's not something one seeks details of.
- We felt a bit like pioneers yesterday. Whatever the original route of this stage of the Camino Augusta, it's now different for a considerable part of it. Both of the Spanish texts are confusing and, at times, wrong about features and street names. So, it's a very good job that some friends of mine are writing a definitive text in English.
- By the way, if during the thousand years of the camino's existence, more than a hundred pilgrims had walked this option north from Cádiz, I'd be astonished. We certainly didn't see any other 'pilgrims' again yesterday.
- More surprisingly – given that the route was primarily through parkland and marshes – we saw very little wildlife. Even fewer birds than the previous day – just one (lost?) cockerel. Not even a bloody seagull, until we got to El Puerto de Santa María. But we did spy a small rabbit, plus the occasional lizard and few crabs in the mud near a bridge. With one normal claw and one huge one.
- But the route was very pretty and totally flat. Which is good when you've got 10 kilos on your back.
- I'm a big believer in walking poles, though not necessarily for stages as flat as those we've walked so far. In truth, the one pole I decided to bring this time has been more of a nuisance than a help. But I do find they help a lot on hills. Or even, as this article (in Spanish) suggests, for, inter alia, maintaining a rhythm on flat stretches. But you really need two for that.
- Having suggested beggars were thin on the ground down here, we'd no sooner sat down to have lunch yesterday in El Puerto de Santa Mará than we were accosted by 2 of the buggers. One of whom was 'playing' a whistle in the tuneless way they do. I'd be happier to pay them to piss off.
- Having mentioned the very clean toilets in La Entrada the other day, I'm duty bound to report that one of the ladies of our group found those of the bar Peña Cultural Mucho Arte – near the castle - to be the dirtiest she'd ever experienced. And she wasn't too impressed by the kitchen either. New name (and owners?) since April 1, it seems.
- There's an obsession with tiny dogs down here, even greater than that displayed by the doyennes of Pontevedra. Many of them are smaller than the cat which recently adopted and then abandoned me. I regard these as a crime against the 'canine community' and confess to a desire to stamp on them . . . The small dogs, I mean. Not the cats. Well . . .
- The good news is that the Border Collie is clearly a popular breed in all 5 cities we've been in so far, in both Portugal and Spain. So at least there are some intelligent dog lovers down here as well.
- Finally . . . In the castle square in El Puerto de SM, there's a sign saying there are very heavy fines for graffiti-writing filmed by the cameras there. And that these will be levied on the parents or teachers of young offenders. Seems a tad harsh to me. Especially as you're considered young in Spain until you reach 35 . . .
ODDS AND SODS
- Just a few more examples of garrish Spanish Catholicism, from another huge quasi-cathedral- This time the Eglesia Mayor Prioral in El Puerto de SM:-
You'd wonder where all the money came from for these . . .
And whether God is happy about them.
Finally . . . The local habit here seems to be to put fresh flowers in front of every statue. Even to throw them through the bars closing off the side chapels. Hence this sign:-