6 June 2022: Galicia’s tourist profiles; Waiting staff; Fat Brits; Odd facts; Easy English; & 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’

Cosas de España or Galiza

Galicia’s tourism income used to come almost exclusively from Spaniards, usually escaping the heat of Madrid and the South. Yesterday’s big news is that income from ‘pilgrims’ on the camino now exceeds traditional sources. Hardly surprising when you consider 3 key facts:-

1. Numbers are up from 5,000 in 2009 to 120,000[sic] this year, and are still growing.

2. The profile of the average pilgrim has shifted towards the older and richer walker..

3. Allegedly, on average each pilgrim now spends 2.3 times what a Spanish tourist spends.

Hence all the new hostels and albergues – and vending machines – we now have in Pontevedra city, though I suspect the hotels have only increased in occupation rates, rather than in number. I don’t know of a hotel built in the city n the last 20 years. It’s not quite Torremolinos . . 

But, as Lenox Napier keeps saying, we foreign residents spend a hell of a lot more and aren’t even allowed to vote. And have no Ministry to think about us. Just taken for granted. Which, to be sure, has a certain logic about it, as neglecting us doesn’t persuade us to leave. There are others things that do that. Like Modelo 720, and post-Brexit holiday period limits, and a refusal to accept British driving licences . . . 

María had kindly confirmed a suspicion that ex-waiting staff are relying on the bank of Mum and Dad – rather than on unemployment benefit – so as to avoid going back the grindstone just yet: Says María: There’s a shortage of staff because people have gotten tired of working long hours for little pay. I’ve seen some conversations of people applying for a waiting job where they were expected to work around 12 hours 6 days a week for around minimum wage. So, many young people keep living with their parents and studying different vocational courses, until they can find a decent job in one of those vocations. But, if your parents are back home in South America, I guess this option isn’t open to you. Maybe other relatives who came here before you. Or grandparents who never left.

If there’s anyone interested in reading the memoir of my first year, I’ve now learnt how to put in email links and have now corrected yesterday’s citation. But here it is for anyone interested today.  

The UK  

I know this is is a sour comment but I couldn’t help noticing the high percentage of overweight people taking part in yesterday’s (rather glorious, if quirky) Pageant in The Mall. Possibly because most of them were middle-aged or beyond. The obvious exception was the Cambridges. Who, by the way, won’t have to wait decades to to succeed the unhappy Chas 3. A mixed blessing, I fear. 


Interesting to read that: The Russians have turned to crowdfunding for ill-equipped soldiers in Ukraine: Everything from rifle scopes to boots have been sent to troops, paid for by ‘patriots’ through fundraising initiatives. It’s certainly one way – and a very modern one – to fund a war. Or, in effect, to raise (voluntary) taxes.

Western sources claim that at least 15,000 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine, more than during 10 years fighting the Afghans before they gave up and went home. 

The Way of the World

Judging from Google searches, the most common dream in the world – top in 52 countries – is about snakes. The next most common is teeth falling out, which comes first in 17 countries including the UK. I can’t recall ever having either of these.

IKEA is the largest individual consumer of wood in the world. It sources up to 10% of its wood from Romania, where it owns so much forestland that it’s the country’s largest private land owner.

Social Media/Quote of the Day

For all her faults, and her outsized ego, Cheryl Sandberg was one of the most brilliant corporate executives of recent years, turning Facebook from a cool place to keep up with friends into a commercial juggernaut. With her departure, Sir Nick Clegg [an ex UK politician] is now by far its highest profile figure aside from Zuckerberg himself. And the blunt truth is that, without Sandberg to guide him, he will be hopelessly out of his depth. He seemed over-promoted as leader of the Liberal Democrats, even more so as Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government led by David Cameron, and wildly so as the public face of Meta. He has zero commercial experience, and little evidence has emerged so far that he has any aptitude for the role he has somehow landed in. Clegg is now the person steering Meta for the next few years. And if that is not a reason to sell the shares, already down by 41% since January, it is hard to know what is.


I read this (very valid) comment this morning. The bold bit is what I always stress to Spaniards who are nervous about making mistakes: To speak any language which is not your mother tongue anywhere near as well as a native requires considerable time hearing it being used, a good ear both for vowel sounds and for the intonation used in sentences, and a good memory for vocabulary. Some languages have a much more complex grammar and syntax than others. In this respect, English is less challenging than many other languages; even if the rules are broken, the intended sense is often clear. English is a much easier language to speak badly than many others.

Finally . . .

Strange . . . The number of spam messages to my main email account has fallen from more than 100 a day to only a handful, but the number of phoney corporate offers getting through Google’s filters has suddenly leaped up. An endless technological battle, I guess

For passing readers: 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.