4 April 2022: A Galicia I don’t know; Russian atrocities; The transgender wars; Cold memories; & Other stuff.

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’

Cosas de España/Galiza   

I read last night a Times article on the Portuguese camino. It was sponsored by a company offering a guide service, so was  naturally full of the sort of effusions indulged in by writers of this sort of fluff. But this bit, at least, is correct: Pontevedra – Galicia’s finest town – stuffs tapas bars between granite colonnades and dangles heraldic balconies over squares of camellia trees. That said, I don’t know of any dangling heraldic balconies – whatever they are. And there’s only one such camellia tree, admittedly huge and imposing. There are around 200 heraldic shields on the facades of old houses but they’re stuck to the walls and aren’t dangling from balconies.

The writer also favours this sort of fanciful stuff, as well as the usual nonsense about Galicia’s ‘Celtic-ness’:-

A Coruña: Growing up so far from authority has given it a rebellious air. Really?

Oviedo: This cider-soaked city is said [by whom?] to be the country’s most romantic. Elegance, wit and a certain smugness (born of the fact that Asturias was the one part of Spain the Moors couldn’t take) characterise the city. I can’t say I’ve ever noticed this during my several visits.

Santiago de Compostela: The granite streets are so lean you’ll feel you’ve wandered into a film set. I have no idea what a ‘lean’ street is – as opposed to a ‘mean’ street. 

I guess it’s one way to make a nice living, at someone else’s expense. Wish I could do it.

A warning from Mark Stücklin  about buying property here. I’ve certainly come across this conflict-of-interest factor in more than one context. No one in Spain seems to care about something which is illegal in other countries.

I don’t know what it was like elsewhere in Spain but here in Pontevedra city there was chaos at petrol stations on Friday when a government/taxpayer discount scheme began. Fortunately, I have a quarter of a tank in my car so can wait for things to settle down.


Assuming the reports of the appalling atrocities are true: This must represent another of Putin’s misjudgements. He might have been able to get away with his brand of savagery in Grozny and Aleppo where, bluntly, no-one much cared what happened to the inhabitants. But to unleash his thuggery on a European city in the full glare of the Western media, was not the most inspired of strategies. And yet, the man who is capable of permitting such things  is one who might not be deterred from even greater savagery. We have not heard the last of this. So writes Richard North this morning. I fear he’s right. And I’m not sure it’s wise – though understandable – to corner Putin with threats of war crime judgements.

The Way of the World

Fighting back against the transgender bigots/fascists.

#MaskFishing – described by the Urban Dictionary as ‘Where a person appears to be more attractive because they are wearing a face mask’ has racked up videos with 332 million views on Tik Tok. Mask-fishing is particularly prominent among teenagers who have acne and rogue facial hair to contend with. Those were the days.

Finally . . .

Reminiscing about her childhood in a house with no central heating, a columnist wrote about the days when net curtains froze stiff. I was instantly whisked back to the mornings when I had to scrape frost off the inside of the windows of the bedroom I shared with my brother. And when I’d wake up without the socks I’d put on the night before, prior to getting into freezing cold sheets. How did we survive??

For new reader(s): If you’ve landed here looking for info on Galicia or Pontevedra, try here. If you’re passing through Pontevedra on the Camino, you’ll find a guide to the city there.


  1. Such a bizarre comment on Coruña.
    More like relaxed.

    I find masks are great for hiding my bared teeth as I try to deal with public authorities. If you think sorting out your insurance was hard … try opening a business.
    I am currently at the other extreme to the “relaxed” of Coruña.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 30th! As high as that! In 1999 I opened a company in Morocco. It was done with little fuss, and a little bit of baksheesh.

    I am surprised the UK is only 8th – my previous business opened in 2014 (and shut thanks to covid), took about 15 minutes online and 12 quid.

    Here, there is a very easy option, and this was my mistake. You pay a gestoria about 800 euros, they sort it all out, takes about 3 weeks. I took advice from friends along the line of, it is very easy do it yourself. I challenge anyone to fill in Model 036 using the 435 page guide for Hacienda. So far, I have spent 525 Euros.

    I could write a book on these experiences, such as the two years it took me to switch my NIE to DNI, or the 6 months to get my updated driving licence to ride motorbikes, as Trafico said my photo wasn’t me, despite it being the same as my DNI. One of my favourites was my health centre upon receiving my updated SS card, they ceremoniously presented it to me, and finished by telling me to visit every hospital in the area and update them with all this new information. Yeah, right!

    The concept of digital business transformation still hasn’t quite caught on in the public sector.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, I’ve always been relieved that I’ve never worked in Spain. Though, years ago, I helped (an honest) local lawyer set up a business so that she could help foreigners buy property in Galicia. She, of course, had to deal with local governments, inefficient notaries and the tax authorities, not me.

    If you haven’t already read it, this book should be worth a read, and I’d be interested to know how accurate/fair it is. Opinions are divided, as they say:-

    And, yes, I sent up a sole-trader business in the UK years ago in only a few hours, at a low cost.

    Of course, one major problem is that, in a low ethics society, no one trusts anyone else and the Spanish government regards all would-be autonomos as crooks. And places a large financial burden on them as soon as they set up. Not a good starting point. You will possibly find it believable that when my partner years ago discussed this problem with someone at the Hacienda, the (verbal) advice to her was ”Well, don’t tell us about your business until you have enough income/profit to pay the monthly taxes”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. I have done the autonomo for many years.
      Your comment on dont tell until it is doing well, yes, very common.
      Thank you for the book recommendation. I plan to acquire it asap.

      Liked by 1 person

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