9 September 2022: The rain in Spain; Galician puffery; Portuguese history; BJ & LT; The Colin mystery; Camino notes; & Other stuff

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Awake! For, Morning, in the Bowl of Night, has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight
And, Lo, has caught the Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable
Christopher Howse: ‘A Pilgrim in Spain’

Cosas de Spain/Galiza

That hurricane forecast to hit us this week was called Danielle and was eventually downgraded to a typical autumn storm which will bring an abundance of rain. Which is what I walked through on the way to Caldas de Reis 2 days ago. My promised notes on this experience are below. Nothing very exciting but might amuse.

A bit of a puff for this region, albeit from a (Spanish)writer who seems never to have been here: There is no doubt that Galicia is currently a popular destination. Summer after summer, it beats all records regarding the number of visitors it welcomes. On one side, we have the pilgrims arriving in Santiago after a long journey. On another, there are those who simply seek to enjoy the beauty of Galician landscapes and its gastronomy. The Rías Baixas are definitely a must-see. They spread between Cape Finisterre and the estuary of Lugo*, and they provide a wide range of great plans for a late summer getaway. It is still a good time for surfing on the beach of La Lanzada or walking through the route of Los Molinos de Samiera. It would also be a good idea to discover charming villages like Combarro or watching the sunset from Cape Home.** September is also a good month to admire the beauty of the Cíes Islands, or for visiting the island of Oms*** without having to worry about capacity or access controls.

* This is totally wrong. I guess it should be Miño, not Lugo.

** Gallego for hombre. Which makes Zara Home rather confusing, as it sells house stuff.

***Actually Ons.

I was going to list the names of the 15 driving schools which are one of the banes of my life but decided this would be even more boring than my camino notes. Suffice for you to know how many of them there are operating on my route to the barrio of Lérez every morning.

Portugal

This week, a couple of Brit historians have a mini-series on this country in their amusing podcast. This is the first episode.

The UK 

A slightly bizarre headline in the Voz de Galicia: London Bridge is down.

Boris Johnson: John Crace yesterday. Another vote for ‘delusional’. 

Liz Truss: John Crace’s verdict: You could see panic in the eyes of some Tory MPs. They had somehow imagined that Truss might miraculously transform into the coherent, plausible leader they had been promised during the campaign. Yet here she was, flatlining before their eyes. If she lasts a year it will be a miracle. 

John Crace this morning: The rest of those in the know were just grateful the Queen had lived long enough to accept Boris Johnson’s resignation. The last thing the country needed was a narcissistic prime minister who would make a monarch’s death all about him. 

Quote of the Day 

John Crace yet again: You can change the graphics and you can change the studio but you still can’t make a politician answer a straight question.

The Way of the World

Is this very-hard-to-believe report a good example of something eating its own tail?  Which I recently (re)learnt is called an ouroboros . . .

Spanish

3rd tranche of Spanish kids’ jargon:-

Cayetano/a: Pijo/a. 

Chill: Sosiego, tanto como estado de ánimo como petición a quien nos estrese. Chilear. 

Calle: Todo un mundo y una descripción para quien tiene poca o mucha calle. Un aval de experiencia, vaya. “Te falta calle, padre”. 

Carencias: Etiqueta para quien ha llegado a su tope de habilidades y no da más de sí. 

Crack: Ya no vale para elogiar. Todo lo contrario. 

English

Guess which word is superfluous here: As part of our ongoing hedgehog-monitoring work . . .

Finally   . . . .

Scientists say the first amputation of a human limb was that of a foot of a child 31,000 years ago, in the Stone Age. This won’t go down well with my JW friends, who insist that homo sapiens only emerged – from the Garden of Eden –  c. 6,000 years ago.  

I still don’t understand this but wonder now if it’s related to a character in the brilliant comedy series What we do in the shadows:-

To amuse . . .

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.

CAMINO NOTES

Vast contrast between the 5k ‘pilgims’-a-year 2009 and the 120k-a-year 2022.

Very busy early in the day. ‘Pilgrims’ rushing to ensure they can get a bed in their preferred albergue

Lots of them passed me early morning. cf. later in the day

Hard to get any peace and quiet for silent rumination on life or ‘spiritual’ thoughts. There’s always loud prattle in front of or behind you. Or both. Just like my Pilates class, though not in Gallego. 

Being alone is only possible when deviating onto bits of the old camino from which you’re now re-directed to new bits. No one followed me onto these.

As ever, the inconsiderate bikers are a – potentially dangerous – pain in the arse. But there were a couple of ladies who not only had bells but used them. My guess is they were foreign . . .

Some strange sights. One of which was a chap carrying a cross. But it was flimsy and I told him he really should have had it across one shoulder, not in his hands. He seemed to be amused by this. I decided not to offer him a verónica.

The local police were stationed at 2 points along the way. ‘Purely for security reasons’ they explained to me. Were they expecting a wave of pickpockets or bag thieves in the café? Or are they just bored back in Pv city?

Talking of cafés . . . The (much expanded) place in San Amaro was so crowded it took me 15 minutes to get a coffee.

But at least this gave me time to wring out my socks and put bits of the Diario de Pontevedra in my boots.

Noted several of those lying signs which tell you a place is ‘only 300m’ away.

A new sight – cars parked at strategic points, handing out refreshments to group members

Surprised to see not all of the grapes had been harvested, possibly because of the rain. Was told the vendimia would be finished by the weekend.

Amused to pass chap in a car near Caldas, handing out a flier through the window.

Google Maps’ assumed hourly rate of walking  – at more than 4km an hour – is optimistic, at least for me. 

Surprised to see several walkers deviating at the N550 to visit the water mills at Barosa. Adds 3-4km to the challenge. Must be mentioned in the guidebooks.

A good way to dry your cape – after the rain finally stops – is to hang it from you poles – or a stick – behind you as you walk.

I discovered another thermal water facility in CdR, a lavandería/lavandero more or less opposite Hotel Davila, slightly off the camino. Occupied by c. 10 young folk who seemed to be affected by the fumes . . .

Won’t be returning – or recommending O Muiño after my bad experience there. Even though the ribs – which arrived 1.5 hours after I’d ordered them – were very good. 

At least the day ended on a good note – the bus back to Pv was only 10 minutes late, compares with 30 last time. 

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