22 June 2022; AGW; Other chin-jutters; Fires; Camino delights; The declining UK; & 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 

Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas addresses climate change in a Spanish context here. Suffice to say that, earlier this week, I enjoyed the company of 2 ladies who currently live in Andalucia but are planning to move to less-hot Galicia. That said, this trend was predicted at least 15 years ago – when Andalucia was seen as a future desert – but hasn’t really begun yet. I guess the Daily Mail would stress it’ll be good for our house prices.

The right-of-centre PP party had a historical victory in the recent Andalucian regional elections. The best news about this event is that the execrable far right Vox party didn’t achieve its predicted results and so won’t take part in a coalition administration.

I see that the Spanish Legionnaires aren’t the only military folk who jut out their chins on parades. Guess which country . . .

To say that we here in Galicia haven’t this week suffered the massive heat wave to the North and South of us would be something of an understatement. Yesterday’s temperature here in Pv didn’t get above 18 degrees and tomorrow night’s traditional sardines BBQ in my garden has been rained off. So much for the (official) start of summer yesterday. But it was sunny and (very) hot a week or so ago. And we’ve so far had none of the dreadful forest fires of years past.

Having said all that, I was more than a tad surprised to see this report from the BBC. Or I was until I saw that ‘the North West’ meant Castilla y León, not Galicia.

Below is a (machine)translation of an article on curious aspects of the Camino de Santiago of the Middle Ages. Need I repeat that the ‘facts’ about the journey of the saint’s body in a crew-less boat from the Holy Land to Galicia are nonsensical. Though, for more than a thousand years, very profitable for the Catholic Church. Which is not to say a camino won’t be good for your health. Or ‘a spiritual experience’ for some/many. I’ve walked on 15 of the 40+ routes and, so, am happy to recommend a camino. Except –  unless you’re pretty fit – the Primitivo through the mountains of Asturias and Galicia.

No great surprise to see that our petrol prices – as ever – come behind only 4 far richer places in Spain. Our cartel has long been among the most effective in the country.

The UK 

The news on just about everything seems appalling. As bad as the 1970s, in fact. Assuming it’s accurate, is any other country faring as badly as the UK at the moment? Or is it an outrider?

Less seriously . . . Is this a joke?: London’s restaurants are deemed too noisy. Diners struggle to hold a conversation above the racket in more than half of restaurants. Have these people never been to Spain?


So, not only possible with expensive wines . . . A Londoner who posed as a whisky expert has been arrested on suspicion of being part of a $13m fraud in which salesmen with British accents allegedly duped elderly Americans into investing in vintage whiskies. So. If you’re American investor, be wary of anyone who “has an English-sounding name, uses colours like British racing green on their website and shows someone there with an English accent.”

Quote of the Day

Robert Conquest’s Third law of politics, on incompetence: The behaviour of any organisation is best explained by assuming it’s controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.

Finally  . . .

To amuse . . . HT to Andy for the first recorded use of a smartphone – in 1524, in Santiago de Compostela:-

Welcome to a new subscriber, Gyll

For new 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.


The Way of St. James in the Middle Ages: 10 Curiosities

The Way of St. James is already a worldwide symbol, which has evolved greatly since it originated in the Middle Ages. Nowadays we can find many facilities both to follow the route and to obtain information about it, but hundreds of years ago it was much more complicated. It is for this reason that comparing how much the Camino de Santiago has changed until today allows us to know much better this famous pilgrimage route and allows us to discover several curiosities that took place during the Middle Ages.

Discovery of the tomb of St. James the Apostle

In the 9th century the Bishop of Iria Flavia was advised by a villager named Pelayo about some strange lights coming from the forest of Libredón. The bishop, named Teodomiro, approached the place and discovered that it was the tomb of Santiago(St James), so he quickly informed king Alfonso II.

The Compostela in the Middle Ages

Since the Camino de Santiago was born, pilgrims who arrived at the tomb of the apostle received a scallop shell as accreditation. Since it was so easy to plagiarise, the ecclesiastics decided to change this recognition with the letters of proof, which we know today as the Compostela. 

Alfonso II, the first pilgrim

Known as El Casto, the then king of Asturias became the first pilgrim to undertake a journey to the tomb of the apostle St. James. He travelled in the 11th century from Oviedo to the Galician capital, thus originating the well-known Primitive Way. 

Creation of the Codex Calixtinus

This manuscript was created in the middle of the 12th century. This document is currently housed in the Cathedral of Santiago itself and contains everything from musical pieces to sermons related to the Apostle Santiago, among much other information.

Dress in the Middle Ages

It was in the Middle Ages that the classical pilgrim’s clothing was born. Some of the classic elements were the staff, the bag or the scallop shell – elements that are still linked to the Camino de Santiago and the pilgrims, not as part of the clothing, but as souvenirs.

Improving the Jacobean routes

Due to the influx of pilgrims in those years, improvements were made to the road by nobles and ecclesiastics, among others. This improvement in infrastructure took place in the 11th century, a period in which bridges were also built and hospitals were founded. 

Construction of the Cathedral of Santiago

Although there were already many people making pilgrimages to Santiago to see the tomb of the apostle, it was not until years later that the construction of the Cathedral of Santiago was completed. The construction was officially completed in 1211, but even before that there were several churches that guarded the remains of the apostle Santiago.

Round trip

Although nowadays it is common for pilgrims to walk hundreds of kilometres to the Cathedral of Santiago, in the Middle Ages they had to walk there and back. One of the elements used to show that a pilgrim was on his way home was that he carried the characteristic scallop shell.

Legends of the Camino de Santiago

One of the most striking features of the Camino de Santiago in the Middle Ages is that by this time numerous legends were created that are still present today. The legends of the Camino de Santiago are many and varied, but they have in common that they end with a moral.

Thieves and thieves along the Jacobean routes

Taking on a long journey such as the Camino de Santiago in the Middle Ages meant a great risk. The influx of pilgrims caused criminal activity to increase and many merchants raised the price of their products to outsiders. [Plus ça change . . ]