Monday, April 30, 2018

Thoughts not from Galicia, Spain: 30.4.18

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.

  • Yesterday's interesting questions:-
  1. Is England in Great Britain?, and
  2. The language of Holland is English, no?
  • Another camino yesterday for which there were minor changes along the way and then a major one at the end of it. The latter added at least 2km to what was already a longish stretch of 26km.
  • As if this weren't bad enough, Google maps added a further kilometre by taking us around the houses once we were in our destination town, taking us off the right road and then back onto it, after a trip through the back streets. You know there's something wrong when the time to your hotel starts at 5 minutes, goes up to 12, down to 4 and then back up to 6 and then 7.
  • Clearly it's taking some time to work out which is the most 'authentic' of the possible routes pilgrims have been taking from Cádiz via Sevilla over the centuries.
  • What this means is that you can't rely on anything written todate. Fortunately, the traditional yellow arrows usually indicate what is now the route to follow.
  • Google maps, by the way, makes errors not only in towns but also in respect of roads. Asked along the way to give us distance and time to El Cuervo, it firstly declined to give these for walkers and then, for drivers, gave us ludicrous estimates involving a trip back south, a drive up north way beyond El Cuervo and then a drive back south to the town. As if a direct route didn't exist. This was on my (Android) phone. Using my computer this morning resulted in correct details for both walkers and drivers. At least from Jerez, if not from half-way.
  • Perhaps Google Maps was confused by the fact that the A-4 out of Jerez is also labelled the N-IV, the A-480 and the CA-32. And it probably has a 5th EU 'E' number as well.
  • As I've noted before, local ignorance about the route of a newish camino route – or even its very existence – can be monumental. The owner of our hotel talked about having pilgrims stay here before but admitted he had no idea what route it took to and through the town. Which became obvious when he kindly offered to help one of our group to backtrack in search of a lost mobile phone.
  • But, anyway, to change the subject . . . Being a frequent user of toilets in bars around the country, I'm forced to ask why some of them bother to have paper towel dispensers, hand-driers or even soap dispensers. Sadly, hese are often empty or not working. I had a vision yesterday of one of those sheets on the wall signed off my the last employee to check/clean them. The final name and signature were very faded but you could just make out they were dated September 1975.
  • Another day, another hotel room, another failure to get wifi on my laptop. Maybe I should replace it, after 7 years . . .
  • Here's a Guardian article on plans to improve Spain's 'unmerited' image around the world.
  • And here's Timothy Parfitt with his take on the current state of 'Brand Spain'. His - very valid - conclusion is that: There are several things that need to really change in Spain, and fast. Though you can be sure there'll be a lot of whatboutism in defence of how things are.
  • In case you didn't see the last report I posted on this.

A cacti fence:-

Antother cacti fence, except it's the front of a pen. If you look hard enough, you can see the horse.


Sierra said...

1. The cacti usually indicates the location of an abandoned cess-pit from pre-mains drainage days

2. Google are developing driverless cars which rely on accurate mapping data - good luck!

Colin Davies said...

Yes, I'm beginning to realise why some experts think they're decades away!

Alfred B. Mittington said...

My dear boy,

You put your trust in Google, but Google is a broken read!


Colin Davies said...

I'll credot you with a bit of wordplay.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Thank you.

Incidentally: the fences made of prickly pear, as they are called in normal speak, are remnants of a very ancient Moroccan and (Andalusian) Moorish habit. Before the invention of barbed wire, farmers in isolated places used to fence off their house with cacti and agave so as to keep out wildlife and robbers. In some select places these fences still survive, although rarely functional.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, sir, but cacti and agave are, in origin, american plants. They weren't in Europe before 1492.The fences probably were made of blackberries.