Friday, February 14, 2020

Thoughts from Santiago, Galicia, Spain: 14.2.20

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.   
Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain  
Spanish/Galician Life 
  • I'm in Santiago de Compostela for 3 days. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, on going out for dinner last night, to be immediately accosted by the standard young beggar with the standard dog on a lead. Whom I'm sure I've seen in Pontevedra. And possibly Vigo.
  • The amusing thing is the reaction of these panhandlers when I tell them, in Gallego, that I'm a foreigner who doesn't speak Spanish. They tend to lose the power of speech. Or to try pidgin English.
  • Anyway, while I'm being grumpy . . . It's possibly not a good thing that The Local has pointed me towards this Twitter page of minor moans about life here.
  • Which reminds me . . . Yet again with Renfe last evening I got the message: We can't deal with your request right now. Please try later. BUT . . . the good news is that I happened on a solution! Clicking on the Reload button in the URL box brings up the the details required. Or, rather, I thought it did. But, in this case, the train I wanted to take had disappeared from the list. As had all those after it during the evening. Perhaps they were full, though it usually says so if they are. Hey ho.
  • Another problem I have with Renfe is the staggeringly high prices charged both in the buffet car on the night train to Madrid and in the stations, though the latter might have nothing to do with them, I guess. They are between 75 and 150% more than in the shops. Specifically, €2 for a pathetically small Americano. The same for a Kit Kat which even the machine in Santiago hospital only charges 80 centimos for.
  • To be positive about a negative event . . . Here's some important advice for folk who bought a house in Spain 'off plan', paid a deposit but ever saw the plan fulfilled.
  • Thinking of going through the calvario of applying for Spanish citizenship? Test your chances here.
  • Galicia: Some readers will know that in the early 2000s - when there was little or nothing available in English on the net re this region - I wrote a sort of guide to it. Or at least to the southern bit of it. It was later superseded by the much better page of my friend Martin Lambert and, truth to tell, I haven't changed any of the text on my page for at least 13 years. It costs me about 100 quid a year and I've never made a cent from it. So - belatedly - I'm planning to scrap it. So, go now if you want to see what's there!
  • Santiago: I've been re-reading stuff in my files and was reminded of the caustic comments written in the 1830s by Both Richard Ford and George Borrow on the (ludicrous) myth of St James and the magic crew-less, stone boat which (didn't) bring his headless body to Galicia. Here, on said page of mine, is what GB had to say about Santiago's pilgrims. Apologies about the colour. RF went on at much greater  - and more amusing - length about Santiago and everything associated with it. I'll post his views tomorrow.
Shysters Corner
  • How do they get away with this?
Spanish
  • Words of the Day:
  1. Maniatar: To tie; to put on a lead
  2. Disparate: Nonsense; folly; craziness
  3. Disparatado: Crazy, cock-eyed; nonsensical
Finally . . .
  • My father played golf most days of his adult life. This possibly explains why he lived until well into his 90s. . . . .

THE PROMO
  • Galicia Living is a new property development outfit here in Southern Galicia (As Rías Baixas), owned by a friend of mine. So, if you're looking for a house here, get in touch with them. And, if you're particularly interested in the lovely Miño area down on the border with Portugal, let me know on doncolin@gmail.com and I'll send you my write-up on it.

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