4 December 2021: Covid in Spain; Tourism damage in Córdoba; Spain’s odd Xmas traditions; unwanted rabbits; & Other stuff

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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’


Will high vaccination rates help Spain weather Omicron?

Despite a surge in cases, Spain – not being Austria or Germany – rules out mandatory vaccination.

Cosas de España/Galiza

Tourism, like revolutions, tends to devour what was there in the first place. The first time I walked round the the Great Mosque of Cordoba, I was basically on my own. The last time – 2 years ago – it was as crowded a London station concourse. So it is that: Condensation has caused damage to several areas, including its richly decorated, horseshoe-arched mihrab. The lack of ventilation poses a risk because the heat emitted by each visitor contributes to the evaporation of water contained in the architectural structures, contributing to their rapid deterioration. 

By the way, I’m with Emperor Charles V who – on seeing the garish Christian church plonked in the middle of this truly magnificent mosque – turned to the bishop responsible and said: “You have built here what you or anyone else might have built anywhere. To do so you have destroyed what was unique in the world.”

A lot of info on Galicia’s most famous son – Cristóbal Colón, or Christopher Columbus.

And more here on the ex Trappist monk who spent 60 years converting junk into an amazingly stable ‘cathedral’ dedicated to one of Spain’s hundred holy Virgins. This one of the Pillar. 

It’s time for the annual exposé of Spain’s bizarre Xmas traditions


A weak culture of individual freedom and a strong ingrained sense of duty means that Germans will submit to compulsory vaccination while other Europeans, such as the Dutch, would be up in arms. Fortunately, it was a German who said this, not me. See the article below.

Quote of the Day

If you ask most middle-aged women what they enjoy most – above wine, sex or the dog – it is “Getting a black bin liner and throwing away everything in the hallway that annoys me”.


This article from Don Pablo explains why every time I ask for a clara, the waiter/waitress always asks if I want a clarita. And vice versa.

In Galician/Gallego/Galego, the relevant suffixes are –iño and iña.


This is a sign in the yard of my grandkids’ school:-

I hope it was designed by the caretaker and not the headmistress or, worse, the English Language teacher.

Finally  . . .

A poll of over 2,000 UK pet owners found that 46% of those aged 18 to 34 regretted getting a pet during lockdown. The most regretted was a rabbit.

This blog can be seen on Twitter and on the Facebook group page – Thoughts from Galicia.

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


Dutiful Germans get the point of mandatory Covid jabs Bruno Waterfield, The Times

A weak culture of individual freedom and a strong ingrained sense of duty means that Germans will submit to compulsory vaccination while other Europeans, such as the Dutch, would be up in arms, according to experts.

Joost van Loon, a sociologist at the University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, said that a German crackdown on unvaccinated people would succeed where it would fail in other nations.

“In the Netherlands, wearing a facemask was seen as an attack on individual freedom,” he told the Dutch NOS public broadcaster. “In Germany, there is much more a culture of collective responsibility, a more ingrained sense of duty. So people do what is asked of them rather. They don’t grumble so much.”

Jens Spahn, the German health minister, said that more than one in a hundred Germans are currently infected with Covid-19, some 925,800 people, with unvaccinated patients dominating hospital admissions. “If all German adults were vaccinated, we wouldn’t be in this difficult situation,” he said.

Germany has introduced new restrictions that will prevent unvaccinated people from entering non-essential stores, bars, restaurants, sports and cultural venues as well as compulsory jabs for hospital and social care staff.

Under the measures, unvaccinated people will be limited to meetings with their own household and two other people.

The discriminatory lockdown, which would have been unthinkable a year ago due to the country’s Nazi past, are now seen as popular because of the large numbers of unvaccinated people in German intensive care units at the expense of other seriously ill people.

“We now see that a majority of people have very little sympathy that intensive care unit beds are not immediately available for the seriously ill, such as for people with cancer,” said Alex Friedrich, a German microbiologist and professor. “This is because mainly unvaccinated Covid patients are admitted while a vaccine could have prevented that.”

At present, 68.7 per cent of the German population is fully vaccinated. The new coalition government is preparing legislation to make vaccine compulsory for February next year.

“A majority now seems to say: all is well with freedom, but the freedom of the individual ends where the protection and safety of those close to them begins,” Friedrich said.

Authorities in Berlin have banned a weekend protest by opponents of the pandemic measures.

Police in the German capital said past demonstrations had shown that participants failed to abide by infection prevention rules, including refusing to wear masks.

Dietmar Woidke, the leader of the Brandenburg region, which includes Berlin, said that the authorities needed to “act rigorously against deliberate rule violations by vaccination opponents at events or demonstrations”. “Certain groups try again and again to subvert rules and break rules, something the state cannot tolerate,” he told Deutschlandfunk public radio.

Switzerland has also announced new pandemic measures including a certificate to prove a person is vaccinated or has recovered from the virus to access bars or restaurants.