Travel Note 2

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’

Well, I’m finally home, after almost 48 hours of travelling. 

Although we sat in our cars for a long hour once we’d docked in Santander, the immigration formalities thereafter were much more rapid than they’d been when I arrived in the UK. Even faster than usual, I suspect. The main reason is probably that there are now not 2 but 4 check points in Santander – against 9 or 10 in the UK! Plus the check of Covid certification had been done in the UK and our temperatures had been taken while we sat in our cars.

So, I was in time to pick up my 3 Blabla passengers at the appointed time and we set off in glorious sunshine, with beautiful snow-capped mountains ahead of us. But that was towards the east and we had to turn west for Galicia. Where, of course, it was raining as we crossed the border with Asturias.

As ever, the ability to chat to one of the passengers had a remarkably positive effect on the perceived passage of time. If only it had been the very attractive woman who’d first booked a ride but then cancelled when she came down with bloody Covid.

It being winter, the weed growth in my gardens has been low and a kind neighbour had ensured my house plants were watered weekly and, so, are still alive.

And now for the bad news . . .

The temperature in the house is only 13 degrees, but I’ve lit a fire in the salón. Which is nice and romantic. Or would be if I had someone to share it with.

It would be an unusual year if I wasn’t fined once for at least one traffic-related offence and 2022 has started well, with a penalty for something that happened almost 2 months ago. I was snapped on November 11 doing 68 in a 60 zone I’ve successfully negotiated hundreds of times before. A momentary lapse, I guess, in what is a confusing stretch of 60 and 80kph. I’ve never been fined in any of the other 20 other countries I’ve driven in but here they’re just something to regard as a fractional increase in one’s income tax. After all, they’re not really there for safety reasons but to generate revenue. At which they’re very effective – especially – we’re told every year – in Pontevedra province. Where there are numerous ways, it seems, to catch you out with changes in the speed limits. It helps to have lots of hills, bends and tiny villages. More than in any other province in Spain, in fact. No wonder our car insurance premiums are the among the highest in Spain

Finally . . . The wifi isn’t working and the wrong lights are flashing on the modem. 

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

P. S. The fire has increased the temperature to 16 degrees, at least where I’m sitting. The underfloor heating – perfect for Scandinavia but not Galicia – will take at least another 12 hours to get the rest of the house to that and beyond. So, I might just go to one of my watering holes tonight.

P.P.S. The owner of the watering hole mentioned above has just messaged me to say they’re closing down tomorrow and hope I’m back so that they can see me there before they do . . . Every chance, I guess.

P. P. S. The wifi finally came on. I’m sure you’re all overjoyed to hear that.

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