14 September 2022: A paella surprise; Important dates; Camino advice; Russia’s future?; & 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

Oh, dear . . . Down in Valencia, of all places, Mexican chefs have won a competition for the best paella. Beating out some Chinese competitors . . .

Things to know if you live here:-

– Tuesday the 13th (yesterday) is the equivalent is of the Anglo Friday the 13th, and

– 28th December is the equivalent of April Fools’ Day.

I thought Storm Danielle had petered out last week, having drenched me on my walk to Caldas de Reis, but now I read it’s this week sweeping across Spain from west to east, with the worst of the rainfall expected in Galicia. Well, not so far. Though it has rained a bit during the last 2 days. Which means that when I fell on a forest track yesterday, it was into a pool of mud . . . And rocks.

My Ferrol friend, Richard, told me of this video, relating the (tough) experience of a young American couple doing the French Camino from the border with Spain. Very much a personal account of a learning experience. I confess to being surprised at how unprepared they were for a month’s arduous walk across Spain. The most astonishing admission was that they’d elected to do it in August. Did they not even check the temperature schedules in Wiki?? A third of the way through, I was reminded of reading years ago that a hefty percentage of ‘pilgrims’ – once they hit the hot,’boring’ meseta – don’t just take days off or ‘cheat’ by catching a bus but actually abandon the trek. Anyway, would-be walkers can certainly learn from this video, not so much what to do as what not to do.

On this theme, here’s 2nd video, on the 5 most important mistakes you can make.

Finally on the camino . . . In the last few days, I’ve seen pilgrims passing through Pv city at noon or even 13.00. It can still be hot here in September, so I hope these folk are heading only for an albergue, hostel or hotel between here and Caldas de Reis, and not the latter. Say only 2.5 hours, not 5, under the midday sun. Or rain, of course. As I did last week.

Are the Spanish now crazier about dogs than the British? Last night I twice saw small terriers being carried because the Pv pavements were a tad wet. One of them with bloody bootees on its paws. Where else, you might ask.

The UK

My Spanish friends seem to have far more tolerant than I am of the media’s wall-to-wall coverage of the ex queen’s pre-burial moments. And doubtless of the imminent coronation of Carlos III as well.

Any excuse for a repeat . . .

Russia

This, as we all know, is a very large country. But do we all know that it’s technically a federation comprising 22[sic] republics and 120 ethnic groups? Perhaps the most famous of the former is Chechnya and Wiki tells us that: At the turn of the century, Putin’s centralization reforms steadily eradicated all autonomy the republics had with the exception of Chechnya. The bilateral agreements were abolished and in practice all power rests with the federal government. With the termination of the final bilateral treaty in 2017, some commentators expressed that Russia ceased to be a federation.

Be all that as it may, some (extremist?) observers are now suggesting that Putin’s (mis)adventure in Ukraine might just lead to the break-up of said federation. Vamos a ver.

Spanish

Yesterday I asked about the imperfect tense of the vern correr, ‘to run’. A Spanish friend pointed out last night that I seemed to have forgotten – as I had – that it also means to have an orgasm. Which is why you have to say Me gustan las corridas de toros and not just Me gustan las corridas.

Finally   . . . . 

My elder daughter – having planted 4 seeds years ago – might well have condemned both me and my neighbours to an infestation of Passion flowers in our hedges but as least its blooms are pretty:-

As the wheel turns, she recently took some seeds from one on my/her plants back to Madrid, to try to make the one grow on her 7th floor terrace. If she succeeds, her neighbours might not thank her.

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.

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