30 August 2021

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable. 

– Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Cosas de España/Galiza  

Not what you want to read if heading for Ibiza: The appetite of visitors for exotic plants has resulted in nearly half of the island’s land area being overrun by snakes.

It says here that: Every year, fewer and fewer highways in Spain carry a fee for their use as, gradually, they have become de-privatised once their management companies’ contracts run out. Not so, though, here in the (poor) region of Galicia. Our north-south AP-9 between Ferrol and Vigo carries a (high) toll, as does the AP-53 from Santiago de Compostela towards Ourense. There’s regular articles on negotiations between the Xunta and the company getting all the dosh from the AP-9 but I can’t keep up with them, so have no idea if and when it’ll be toll-free. The AP-53 is newer and unfinished, so it could be a long time before it achieves this status.

I cited this spectacular hike yesterday, after which a friend sent me this video of another walk – along El Caminito del Rey – which neither I nor anyone sane will be taking. I knew of this but hadn’t seen that (terrifying) video. Checking on Wiki here, I discovered it had featured in a 1960 Smell-O-Vision film which had been both a technical and a commercial disaster. Initially called Scent of Mystery, it’s now called Holiday in Spain and you can see something about attempts to re-create it – and some of the scenes – just below. I was amused at Wiki’s description of its sole ‘Hazard’ as ‘Danger’. A euphemism for Death, I suspect.

Just as I feared . . . A Telegraph article on 19 unexpected European holiday hotspots hiding in plain sight featured Galicia and Extremadura. It’s a lot warmer and drier in the latter. And they have toros bravos in their fields down there. It was nicely described as being Pressed between the sunny splendour of Andalucia and the boy-next-door friendliness of Portugal.Sadly there seem to be 2 sorts of accidents here in Galicia that really shouldn’t happen – those caused by kamikazes driving the wrong way down autovias and those resulting from cars driving into harbour waters. The latest of the latter – in which 2 young men died – is reported on here.

 The Way of the World

Modern dating ethics. . . When I was young, if you started dating someone, you became ‘an item’ and were exclusive to each other, whether for a few weeks or a lifetime. Not now, it seems. In these more sexually liberated times, until you agree between yourselves that you’re in an exclusive partnership, each of you – assisted now by dating apps – is free to ‘hook up’* with as many people as you can manage. Personally – post modern as I claim to be – I’d find this impossible to do. And I don’t think this is just rueful regret that things weren’t like this back when. Simply put, I can’t feign affection. But that’s my problem I guess. 

*There might be other words/phrases for this. 


Un despiste: Oversight: Carelessness; Cluelessness. The RAE gives: Distraction, failure, forgetfulness, mistake. Possibly best rendered as ‘An absent-minded mistake’. 

Finally  . . .

The citation by Wiki of ‘Danger’ as a ‘Hazard’ reminded me of the note on the airway-bill for my dog being flown back from Iran: British Airways accepts no responsibility for mortality caused by death.

Note: If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here