Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thoughts from Haarlem, The Netherlands: 20.11.18

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 German and Dutch
  • Yesterday, I drove from Hamburg to Haarlem in Holland, a not-unpleasant 5.5 hour trip. The temperature here is currently 4 degrees, compared with around 15 in Hamburg yesterday. But it will rise here to as high as 5 by midday. To be fair, I just checked and found the temperatures for both now and later back in Hamburg are 1 degree less. In Pontevedra, it's wet but warmer, at 13 degrees.
  • Immediately you enter The Netherlands, you're conscious of 2 differences with Germany. Firstly, there are far fewer large Audis, BMWs and Mercedes around you. And, secondly, there's no one flashing past you at what seems like speeds of up to 200kph. I imagine the Dutch are as rich as the Germans – if not more so on average – but perhaps they don't go in for ostentatious displays of wealth. Or breaking the daytime speed limit of 120/130kph.
  • The Netherlands is/are as flat and as prettily green as everyone says it/they is/are. And neat and orderly and well organised. As I reached the outskirts of Amsterdam and the sun began to set - bringing on twinkling lights all around - I had the odd feeling I was in one of the magnificent models in Hamburg's Miniatura Wonderland. A tad surreal, then. But the traffic jams between Amsterdam and Haarlem rapidly brought me back to reality.
  • My Anglo-German host in Hamburg defied my request and read yesterday's post before I left. He was (or seemed) amused but claimed I'd taken his comment 'out of context'. Hmm.
Matters Spanish
  • As if Mrs May didn't have enough problems back home, and just when you thought everything was cut and dried as regards the EU demands, Spain is the first of the 27 to throw a large spanner into the works. Over the 'settled issue' of Gibraltar, of course. See here and here.
  • As it happens, I saw a sign to Utrecht as I drove from Hamburg to Haarlem yesterday and naturally thought of the 1713 treaty under which The Rock was ceded by Spain to Britain. To the annoyance of most Spaniards – or at least of those who don't benefit from Gibraltar's thriving economy – this is still in force. As is Spain's centuries-old occupation of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa. But this is an entirely different kettle of fish, apparently.
  • This article purports to tell us which are the most and least happy Spanish regions to live in. The winner is Navarra and the loser is . . . . Galicia . But I have my doubts about the accuracy of the 'research' and the statistical validity of the conclusions. Anyway, everything's relative. One man's meat . . etc.
The EU/Brexit
  • Spain, it seems, is not the only country unhappy with the 'final' withdrawal deal. Several other members - the usual culprits - are lining up to claim that what is seen as unacceptable by most Brits is far too lenient towards the UK. So, what happens next? WTF knows.
  • That said, I see one Times correspondent  this morning has endorsed my guess that the UK is inching towards a second referendum and the withdrawal of the exit notice. Though Richard North pooh-poohs this notion. Maybe he isn't always as right as I've thought him to be . . .
Finally . . .
  • Whenever I'm on my travels, an ad appears on my laptop saying: These incredible gadgets have almost sold out in [the country in which I currently find myself]. I wonder if the statement is universally true. Or even in just the UK, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. Possibly not.
© [David] Colin Davies 


Alfred B. Mittington said...

Last time I looked, there was this essential difference in traffic regulations between Germany and the Netherlands: in Germany there is no maximum speed on the Autobahn. In the Netherlands the maximum speed is never above 120 anywhere. Be warned!

Speeding tickets are hefty affairs in the Low Countries. So the Dutch need their wealth to meet those fines; and what's the sense of buying those big Mercedeses and BMW's if you cannot use them to your full delight?


Colin Davies said...

Not always so. The autobahn i was on had regular signs reminding you the limit was 120/130 between 6am and 8pm. The speedsters were breaking the law.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

GERMANS breaking the law??

What IS this world coming to???

In the past, they usually changed the laws so as to fit their desires of behaviour.

Thanks for the update, anyway.