25 June 2022: Galician delights; Kite news; E-scooterist ‘rules’, & 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 

The article below – Ten reasons to visit Spain’s green and glorious Galicia this summer – is from The Olive Press. It seems to have been written last year, very possibly first in Spanish. Or by a Spaniard taught American English. Its general thrust is fine but there are several errors. I’ve corrected these in brackets, sometimes pedantically. I confess to wondering if the writer has ever actually been to Galicia. Or – if he/she did come here – was sponsored by Martín Codax, 

A nice tale, also from The Olive Press . . More than 30 years ago, Spain sent red kites to the UK to boost a population on the verge of extinction. The reintroduction programme was so successful that now Britain is returning the favour. Early this month 30 young red kites(milanos reales) were flown into Extremadura to help rescue the dwindling Spanish population.

I never thought I’d see this question posed: Is it possible to do the Camino de Santiago on an e-scooter. The answer, of course, is that you can make the journey but it won’t – any more than doing it on a motorbike or in a car – qualify as a camino. And you’d have to abide by Spanish law on these things. Which is currently ‘in a kind of legal limbo in many of the places on the Camino’. As a general rule, e-scooters must use bike lanes and, if there aren’t any of these, they must use the road and not the pavement, as with bicycles. In addition, an e-scooter should not exceed 25 kph, though some towns impose a lower limit, in addition to a minimum age, usually around 16. All riders must wear a helmet. Other basic regulations also apply, such as respecting traffic lights and signals or not wearing headphones or being under the influence of alcohol. These, of course, are regulations which are comprehensively ignored in Pv city by e-scooterists and bike-riders who aren’t on a camino.

Bike-riders are, of course, the bane of the camino. Few of them warn you as they race up to and past you. Most of them should be shot as they pass. I suspect that these can, in fact, get a certificate(una compostela) in Santiago. Insult to injury.

Maria’s Beginning Over: 19. Fire and Memories.

The UK 

Surely right . . . Boris Johnson’s best bet now is to push on with his world tour – for ever. Just back from an 8-day trip to Africa, tomorrow he’s off to the G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps, where the ice is even thinner than the stuff he’s currently skating on. Then to Madrid for a Nato meeting, where Johnson can revert to his favourite hobby: phoning President Zelinsky.

The Way of the World

Finally  . . .

To amuse . . . Take  your time:-

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.


Ten reasons to visit Spain’s green and glorious Galicia this summer

Galicia is an autonomous community in the northwestern corner of Spain with its own culture, language and tradition. It has so much to offer: unforgettable sites, relaxing beaches and mouthwatering cuisine, and for those sweltering in the heat elsewhere in central and southern Spain, cooler climes! So, here are 10 reasons why you should put Galicia on your bucketlist of destinations in Spain, with a few recommendations to really get the most out of your time there.

1) Santiago de Compostela 

The ancient city of Santiago de Compostela is a stunning destination, visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, many of them pilgrims who have walked the camino know[n] in English as the Way of St. James.  Since the 9th Century pilgrims have journeyed from all over Europe to visit the breathtaking Cathedral, the reputed[mythical] burial place of St. James the Apostle. Though the city is more than its stunning romanesque Cathedral, the capital of Galicia’s entire Old Town area has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

There are a host of small squares, chapels and museums dotted around the town. And on the main plaza is one of the most beautiful hotels in all of Europe, the jewel in the crown of the state run parador[Parador] chain. The Hostal dos Reis Católicos is the oldest continuously running hotel in the world. It was built by the Catholic Monarchs: Ferdinand and Isabel in 1482, 10 years before Colombus[Columbus] journeyed to the New World. The luxurious 5-star hotel offers a decadent[??]  option for tourists who want to see Galicia in the utmost comfort. [If you  want to see the inside and aren’t dressed like a pilgrim, just ignore the guard at entrance and the signs on the door and walk right in and turn left for the bar and the cloisters]

2) Xacobeo 2021-22

2021 is[sic] a very special year for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) as it is a Xacobeo year (Jacobean year).  This only happens when the festival of James the Apostle (July 25) lands on a Sunday. This once every five to 11 years, the next being in 2027. But what is so special about this year? Well, during this year the Holy Door of the Cathedral is opened to allow pilgrims through. Indeed, during this year ‘a full plenary indulgence’ (forgiveness of all sins) is granted upon praying in the Cathedral. And this year, the Pope took the unprecedent[unprecedented] step of officially extending the festival year to last throughout 2022, due to COVID.

Though the festival is more than a religious opportunity. Santiago de Compostela will be even more alive with life and activity. There will be a variety of opportunities to meet new people, learn new things and of course enjoy the festivities, as people have done every Xacobeo since it was created in 1126 by Pope Calixtus II. So now is the perfect time to see Santiago as it is brimming with life.  

3) Cuisine 

No mention of Galciia[Galicia] would be complete without paying homage to its incredible gastronomy. It is famous for its delightful seafood: dishes such as Polbo á Feira (Market style Octopus) and the Empanada Gallega (Galician Empanada) are unforgettable. Seafood is abundant, fresh and affordable. Polbo á Feira is a typical Galician dish served with wine which captures the delicacy of the seafood while bringing in the sweet and spiciness of the paprika seasoning. The perfectly boiled octopus (done to a melt in the mouth texture) paired with traditional local bread is not to be missed. 

The Empanada Gallega is a representation of the heritage of Galicia[Originally in Spanish?]. The fusion between the local fresh fish, meats and vegetables combined with the Goan spice mixes brought to Galicia by Portuguese traders in the 16th century provide a dazzling combination of flavours. [Never heard of these ‘Goan’ spices but will check out the claim]

But also look out for the famous pimientos to padron[de Padrón] – small green peppers – and the delicious Galego dessert, Tarta de Santiago. A light fluffy almond sponge[No. Cake].

4) Wine

Galician wine has been on the up during the recent decades and is now recognised as the home of Albariño white wine, the Rías Baixas region in particular[exclusively]. A source in the wine industry (with a WSET Level 2 qualification) gave the Olive Press some insight into the Galician wines. He said that Albariño white wines from the Rías Baixas region are “refreshing with great notes of citrus fruits balanced with salty and flinty mineral qualities.” He also said that “Albariño wines are perfect for a day in the sunshine. They are clean and refreshing”. He recommended the Albariño Martín Códax 2019/20 Rías Baixas as a great choice for a hot summer’s day. It runs at around €15 and is widely available throughout Spain. [And expensive].

5) Tower of Hercules

The town of A Coruña is home to the oldest working lighthouse in the world. The Tower of Hercules, a UNESCO World Heritage Site sits on the coastline overlooking the wonderful A Corña[A Coruña],“the City of Glass” [Never heard this]. The town was founded by the Romans in around 100AD and the lighthouse was built along with the town. However, according to legend, Hercules built the lighthouse to commemorate his victory over the giant Geryon near the town. He named the settlement Crunia, after a woman he fell in love with from the area. Today,  A Coruña and the Tower of Hercules are picturesque pockets of Galicia that are definitely worth exploring to unpack the rich history and the stunning views of the region. 

6) Beaches and Climate

Galicia is home to a multitude of idyllic playas, with dramatic coves, white sand and clear waters, they rank among the best in Spain, although temperatures are decidedly cooler than in the Med. The white sandy paradises of Praia das Catedrais with its enormous arches and Praia da Lanzada in A Coruña[No, the first is in Lugo province and the second in Pontevedra province] are some of Galicia’s most famous beaches. These relaxing beaches combined with the very comfortable 25 degrees Celsius average temperature (July-September) in Galicia provide a lovely getaway from the oppressive heat further south.

7) Countryside 

The temperate climate also facilitates perfect conditions for long hikes in the verdant countryside. Most of the long hikes in Galicia all lead to Santiago, the Camino de Santiago[not a separate ‘hike’ but the name for the collection of all of the ‘Ways]’ and the Camino Inglés, to name a couple. But Galicia has more to offer: the Senda del Agua and the Sendero del Río Fraga are relaxing walks along the waterways and coasts of Galicia, allowing you to take a break from civilisation for a while, and enjoy tranquility for a time. 

For those more daring however, the Ruto de O Alto Principe is a short ascent up Mount Agudo. Once at the top though, you are rewarded with an immaculate view of the entire archipelago of the Illas Cíes. [These are both of the Cies Islands, to which you’ll first need to get  to by boat]

8) Illas Cíes

It is no exaggeration to say that the archipelago is the perfect camping destination. In fact, there are no formal hotels on the islands at all, only camp sites! The old pirate haven is a snapshot of tranquility: there are no cars, no rubbish, no loud music, only nature and stunning vistas. The sandy beaches, mountain hikes, kayaking and snorkeling opportunities are all unrivaled in their beauty. And are definitely worth considering when deciding where to go in Galicia. Though travellers must take book ahead as the islands only accept 2,200 visitors a day in order to preserve the pristine condition of the islands. 

9) Festivals 

From peace and tranquility to excitement and fiestas Galicia offers it all. There is a rich history of parties and festivals in Galicia. 

The first weekend of August will see a horde of marauding Vikings will land on the coast of Catoira, by the Torres del Oeste (an 11th Century ruined Castle) as part of the Catoira Viking Festival.  La Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol (The feast day of St. James) takes place on[in] the week ending July 25 with huge firework displays, singing and dancing on[in] the streets. Other regional festivals include Fiesta del Marisco (The Seafood Festival) which takes place in October in O Grove. This is a celebration of all things seafood and Galician with over 200,000 annual visitors. This is a must for any food lovers.

10) Culture

Finally, the last but by no means least reason to visit Galicia is to take in its wonderful culture. From its stalwart defence against the Vikings, to its pride in their dialect Gallego, to its love of the bagpipes (the Gaita) Galicia has so much to offer for tourists keen to learn about the culture and history of the autonomous region. [It’s remarkable that nothing is said here about the Celtic origins that the Galicians like to lay claim to. Specifically of the annual Celtic music festival]

So, please, go and learn about Galicia, enjoy the region. You won’t regret it. [True]


    • Finally found this:
      Until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, red kites scavenged roadside waste in cities like Paris and London. The French King Louis XIII used gyrfalcons to hunt flying red kites on the Plaine Saint-Denis, releasing those he caught from a window in the Louvre after cutting their two central rectrices (the first example of marking!). This is why, in French, the bird is called a ‘milan royal’, because only members of the royal court could fly it. It must have been an extremely common bird before guns were invented!


  1. Coruña is known as ‘La ciudad de cristal’ because of the galleried glass buildings looking out over the port. It is the second thing cruise ship passengers get a good view of as they dock right next to said galleries and Maria Pita Square. There are also multiple examples of such galleries all around the central area.

    The 1st thing they see of course is the Torre de Hercules as they reach the entrance of the Ria.

    It looks like a literal translation was done for many parts of the article, as in the afore mentioned example.

    I guess I would translate it as the Crystal City myself. But don’t take my word for it.

    Still I imagine Martin Codax won’t be complaining too much.


    • yes, my friend Eamon in L C confirmed that. I’ve seen them, of course. I refer ‘crystal’.


  2. As a hiker, driver and an avid cyclist, I must protest the generalisation and assumptions made about ‘bad’ cyclists. There are bad (fill the blank) everywhere. Most of us are kind, law-abiding citizens, respectful of other trail or road users. On my travels, I have seen hikers, who disrespect nature, or the neighbourhoods they cross paths with. Drivers who ignore the speed limit and any common sense, by overtaking cyclists on dangerous curves. Pedestrians cross the road without looking or worse, looking at their phones while jumping into the road. Stupid, lazy people are just that! No matter the activity or mode of transport or they are using!


    • Just seen this, after a quick and dirty search . . .
      We ran into a German pilgrim there that had just started walking her Camino a few days before and was whacked by a passing bicyclist. Courteous bike riders are no problem, but it seems that many that ride the Camino know nothing of how to approach and pass pedestrians. Many fly by, with no warning and the scared pedestrians jump to get out of the way, and 50% of the time, jump into the path of the rider. I found it better to not move to the right or left when I heard a bike coming and just let them work around me. If there was time to turn and look and get out of the way properly, I would. The ones that ring their bells (those that actually have them) and give plenty of warning are no problem, the others are a hazard. There is room for all, but there needs to be common sense, which sometimes is in short supply.

      I endorse his advice not to move left or right.



  3. True enough

    But we are all victims of our personal experiences and mine are mostly bad with cyclists, though I don’t deny that some are pretty considerate – both slowing down and giving you ample warning of their arrival, But less so where there are fewer walkers and they can get up speed in the space available. Some of them actually say Buen camino as they race past . . . .

    I imagine that on your bike, you don’t come up against the bad ones . . .



    • When I started the camino in Astorga several years ago, it was by bike. (I had to quit after a day and a half because of the 7P’s and my knee gave out).
      I gave out bells to our troupe, and they came in very handy. We also took care when overtaking slowing down, and giving as much berth as possible.
      Some parts of the camino require bikers to use parts of road and not the actual trail because of its limitations, but I recall some bikers doing it anyway.
      Maybe the bells should be made compulsory. And in some villages where space is tight, bikers should probably be instructed to dismount. Having lived a short spell in Holland, in this part of the world we still have some work to do in infrastructure, design and education regarding road use.


  4. The 7Ps??? Hills?

    Yes, I gave up after 3 days walking on the Primitivo in Asturias. Beautiful but too tough for me with a rucksack on my back and a ton of mud on my boots.

    Yes, few bikes have a bell these days.

    There must be some bike etiquette for riders on the camino, even if it’s honoured more in the breach than the observance . . . Yes, have found something and will cite it tomorrow.



    • The 7P’s – Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. An old military adage, which my Grandad often quoted to us little whipper snappers.

      The hills didn’t help either!


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