Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Thoughts from Guarda, Portugal: 9.10.18

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. Garish but informative.

Matters Spanish
  • The (far-right) ABC newspaper tells us here of a newish - and proudly 'fascist' - far-right party in Spain, one of the few countries said not to see a populist party rise as a result of the 2007-2017 Crisis. Though this party – Vox – rather seems to disprove this claim. The paper refers to the also-newish Ciudadanos party as 'centre-right', which it might well be from its standpoint. But not to the rest of us, as we watch it vie with the PP party for the right-wing vote. Both near and far varieties.
  • Here's one of those reports one regularly sees in Spain – where justice moves very slowly indeed – of a case where someone adjudged guilty is nonetheless let off scot-free. It's usually politicians who gain from this state of affairs, of course.  IGIMSTS. 
  • The writer of this article is another who thinks Spain will – or at least could – take over from the UK when/if the latter leaves the EU. Indeed, she writes, Spain has already been making progress on this front.
  • Yesterday was Columbus Day, I read. Though not here in Portugal. This Irish-American thinks some of the great man's achievement don't merit celebration. And he's surely right. I wonder if Galicians will stop claiming he was a Gallego from Pontevedra if he comes to be universally known as a complete shit.
  • And here's the Times of Israel on the old question of whether CC was Jewish or not.
  • Spain's new petrol/gas pump labels – How to understand them.
Matters Portuguese
  • I hope to be rewarded one day more the more than an hour I've spent/wasted trying to find just how many bloody caminos/caminhos pass through Portugal. This quest was sparked by finding that, not only Viseu, but also Guarda is a town through which (an apparently new) one passes. Here's a summary of my findings. Note that little of this information can be found on the normally very useful Mundicamino site:-
1. There are at least 3 caminos heading north from Oporto to Galicia and Santiago de Compostela.
2. There are at least 2 going north from Lisbon to Oporto:-
- The Coastal
- The Central, via Tomar, Santarem and Coimbra. [This one possibly has a variant via Fátima. And there might be the posibility of branching north from Coimbra to Viseu and then to the Via Plata via Chaves. See next point].
3. In addition, there's said to be a caminho interior, which might be the the Interior Via Portugal Nascente, whose route seems to be: Tavira [not Lisbon], Evora, Belmonte, Guarda, Viseu, Castro Daire, Lamego, Peso da Régua, Santa Marta de Penaguião, Vila Real, Vila Pouca de Aguiar, Chaves, Verín[Spain] and finally, Laza, where it joins the Via Plata, which has come north from Sevilla, via Salamanca and Zamora.
4. Finally(???), there's the Caminho de Torres, which branches off the Via Plata at Salamanca and heads NW to Portugal, passing through Guimaraes and Braga before joining the traditonal Camino Portugués in Ponte de Lima.
  • As you might have guessed, I can't guarantee the accuracy of this information. But I can confidently predict that - within 20, or even 10, years – every town in the Iberian peninsula will have a camino passing through it. Meanwhile, no wonder Mundicamino can't keep up with things.
Social Media
  • From a Times columnist: Politics is increasingly polarised along identity rather than partisan lines . . .  Social media divides everyone into tribes. . . Virtue-signalling to friends is combined with vicious denunciations of enemies. The language of “mutineers” and “saboteurs” on the right is matched by attacks on “traitors” and “melts” on the left. There is a lack of civility that derives from the fact that people are playing the man (or woman) and not the ball. . . If politics is no longer about persuasion but personal identity, then it is much harder for anyone to change their mind. But a liberal democracy depends on rational debate rather than emotional allegiance. It is based on constantly questioning, challenging and testing ideas. The “will of the people” should be an expression of these freedoms, not an excuse to divide and rule.
© [David] Colin Davies: 9.10.18

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