Thursday, May 10, 2018

Thoughts not from Galicia, Spain: 10.5.18

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.

  • In the last 3 weeks, we've stayed in at least 15 hotel, hostals and pensions. And I still have no real idea why one term is used in preference to another. Nor how the rating system of stars works. And neither has any employee I've spoken to about this. The bottom line is that we've stayed in hostals and pensions better than some of the 2 or 3 star hotels.
  • Venice is reported to have a population of 50,000 and an annual visitor total of 30 million. No wonder there's an increasingly severe reaction against tourism. Here's Don Quijones on the subject of Airbnb's fightback – with EU assistance – against the anti-tourism movement.
  • Don't tell anyone but, after this Grand Tour, I think I'll confine my future travelling to Extremadura, which the rest of the world has yet to fully discover. And which – weatherwise - can be quite comfortable at certain times of the year.
  • Meanwhile . . . If you're driving to Córdoba, good advice is to drive along Avenida del Aeropuerto and park – a 10m walk away from the old quarter – in the large public carpark there. Where you'll witness surely the strangest payment system in Spain. As you're reading the advice on the pay machine and finding that it neither takes credit cards nor gives you change from a note, you're approached by the chap who's left the office on seeing you arrive. He then inserts coins from his kitty to pay your fee and gives you change from whatever money you give him. Hard to understand but it is a municipal not private – car park. So this might be the explanation.
  • Back to tourism . . . I admit to finding it hard to stomach the numerous guided groups which clog the narrow streets of Spain's glorious medieval quarters. But visiting the Great Mosque in Córdoba for the second time was a personal nightmare. Maybe my recollection is wrong but I have a memory of last time being virtually alone there, stupefied by the beauty of it all. This time it was like a bloody railway station on a busy main line. Hundreds and hundreds of folk wandering noisily around, taing endless selfies. Even more irritating for (bad mood) me was the immense amount of Christian tat which despoils the original construction. I must be wrong but I don't recall all the side chapels along every wall. Nor the altars set up between the columns. And don't start me on the cathedral plonked by vandals in the middle of the majestic masjed. And then there are all the display cabinets in the corners. I'd still recommend that you see it before you die but, unless (maybe) you go very early in the morning in mid-winter, you need to be prepared for a very mixed experience. Which must surely be even worse in the high season. Though not if you're a practising Catholic who finds all the grotesque iconography meaningful. Comforting even. Been there, done that. Lapsed.
  • Here's The Local with advice for those readers young enough to want to stay on the razzle all night long and appear cool while doing so. Not been there nor done that.
  • And here's interesting news if, like me, you live in Galicia and go regularly to Portugal - Following the opening up of the Spanish rail network in 2020, a German company will offer a 4-a-day service to Oporto along the Galician coast, down from La Coruña. HT to Lenox of Business Over Tapas for this.
  • As for living in Galicia . . . . For me, all depends on whether the infamous (and truly horrendous) Modelo 720 law will drive me from Spain to nearby Portugal. Another HT to Lenox for this article on this. As I've said, whatever the final judgment of the European Commission, I doubt I'll ever get back the large fines already paid for late delivery of submissions under a law that I, like most of the inhabitants of Spain, knew nothing about.
  • Duff Cooper: After leaving the army, he worked for some years during the 1920s in the Foreign Office. His hours appear to have been 10-4, less a longish, liquidish lunch. He complains bitterly when problems in Egypt keep him at his desk until 5 or even later. When he's promoted to a job of assistant to a parliamentary Under Secretary, he rejoices that this will mean more money for fewer hours. He is disappointed as regards the latter. Poor thing.


Sierra said...

Perhaps a move back to UK would be more appropriate than Portugal:

Colin Davies said...

I wonder how Brits resident in the EC before the accession of the UK got their pensions.

I'm prepared to bet a large sum this doomsday scenario won't happen.