Thoughts from Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain: 23.5.21

 Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable

– Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’ 

NOTE: Info on Galicia and my Guide to Pontevedra city here

Covid 

It seems that Brits can now visit Spain without proof of a test but will be quarantined when they get back. Whereas, for Portugal you must have proof of a test but won’t quarantined on your return. And you won’t be permitted to enter other EU countries until the UK is included on a White List, maybe in 2 weeks’ time. So, no overall EU policy. 

As regards Spain, below is worrying advice for those planning to visit relatives or friends resident here. Have you heard of the carta de invitaćion? As the writer says, there’s a lot of confusion. And as the Sunday Times cartoonist puts it this morning . . .

Cosas de España/Galiza

Spain’s utility companies are (very) slowly moving away from the monopolistic, high fixed-charges, screw-the-consumer model. Here’s something on this in respect of electricity. As regards water, the bills from my monopoly supplier continue to confuse me, as – even when my volume is nil – the cost can vary by 20%. Is there a global market in water?

It’s never wise to be optimistic re a shopping expedition in Spain, especially when you’ve ordered something and been given a collection date. A brief conversation in the IT shop yesterday at 11am:-

Hola. I ordered something  3 days a via Miguel. Has it arrived?

Miguel who?

Miguel your boss.

He’s not here and he’s said nothing to me about it. 

When will he be here?

Soon. Maybe in half an hour.

Needless to say. 1. I didn’t wait, and 2. I wasn’t surprised, or even disappointed. I’ll return on Monday evening.

Check for your name here. I’m astonished to see mine featured. I’m guessing a lot of mature Brits down South. 

Quote of the Day  

Starting in the 20th century, psychologists began to realize that people use their analytical ability not to analyze, but rather to rationalize—that is, to conform observed facts to their preconceived biases. Understanding the 2 main reasons why humans do so lies at the heart of both individual and mass delusions. The first reason for the proclivity all of us—the smart, the dumb, and the average—have for such irrationality is that true rationality is extraordinarily hard work, and few possess the ability to do it. Further, the facility for rationality correlates imperfectly with IQ.

Finally  . . .

Well, the annual something-fest which is the Eurovision song contest – incorporating Israel and Australia – was won by a rock group from that stalwart of the rock music industry, Italy. As is the norm these days, the UK got no points at all, both from the national juries and the country phone-ins. Spain didn’t fare much better. An interesting wrinkle(?) – Three countries with a history of good rock music – the UK, The Netherlands and Denmark – gave very few points to the Italian effort at this genre. Which must say something. But I don’t suppose the Italians care.

My daughter and my 2 year old grandson have been here for a week. The things that no longer work are:-

– My backup laptop

– The water pump

– The Sky TV remote-control, and

– The oven

Actually, I’ve ‘fixed’ the oven this morning. Somehow a child lock safety measure had been turned on. I’m guessing by a child.

VISITING RELATIVES OR FRIENDS RESIDENT IN SPAIN FROM THE UK?

Something those of you need to be aware of.

There is a requirement in Spain (and probably all other EU countries) that all visitors from non EU countries have the means if challenged at the point of entry to prove that they have return transport tickets, the means to support themselves whilst here and registered accommodation. In theory, it’s to stop people coming here on holiday and deciding to stay, becoming a burden on the state.

So what, you say. Well, it’s the bit about accommodation. If you plan to stay in the homes of friends or family, you need to produce a carta de invitaćion – an official form provided by your hosts via the police. Your hosts need to go to the local police office a month beforehand, fill out an application form for every person coming, pay €74 per person visiting, go back 3 weeks later to pick up the document, then email it to you so you can produce it at the border control when challenged. 

No form, no entry.

It’s not clear how those with a 2nd home in Spain will be treated. It is clear that only those with resident status can apply for the carta de invitaćion, which rules out these people. If they wish to rent out their holiday homes, they need to be officially registered with the tourist authority and pay for the annual licence, then issue their rental clients with the appropriate confirmation of booking paperwork. 

What people need to do who only want to provide their holiday home without charge to friends and family is still not clear.

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