16 September 2022: Wealthy Spain; Empty Spain; More Portuguese tales; Brits in line; & 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

Back in the 60s, Spain was so poor it was officially considered part of ‘the developing world’. Six decades on – for one reason and another – it’s rich enough to host the most expensive restaurants in the world. No wonder the Spanish are grateful for the EU. And for the sun and its (cementable)coasts, of course.

Do you know where ‘Spain’s Lapland’ is? And why most of Spain is empty? If not, click here for the answers.

This is advice on buying a Spanish property from the UK. Take note of the paragraph on the qualifications and experience of your UK lawyer. Back in 1999, when I spoke to one who advertised himself as an expert, I quickly realised he was pig ignorant. But had high fees. And a huge Mercedes in his car park

I thought we’d have to wait until October for our next festival in Pv city – the Oktoberfest. But for the next 3 days – thanks to Estrella Galicia – we have this odd event.  Ferve translates as ‘Fervent’: ‘Having or displaying a passionate intensity’.


There were 2 huge sea-battles off the western coast of India in 1508-9. In the first, a Muslim navy narrowly defeated the Portuguese. In the second, the Portuguese wreaked revenge and then proceeded to perpetrate atrocities along the coast which were at least as bad as anything the Spanish or the British did when they went a-colonising. Though perhaps not quite as bad as what the Belgians did in the Congo. Which makes it odd that, as far as I’m aware, neither the Portuguese nor the Belgians have suffered any ‘reputational damage’.

The Portuguese lost the first battle because they rejected what they regarded as a ‘shameful’ recommendation from their (German) chief gunner that they blast their enemies from afar with their superior cannons. ‘Fidalgo honour’ demanded that they engage in close engaging and boarding. So, despite losing, they did manage to kill about 90% of their ‘victorious’ opponents. They were not so honourable/stupid in the 2nd battle. Hence the different result. 

BTW. . . The Muslim warriors of that era – the Mamluks – referred to the Portuguese interlopers as the Franks. Presumably their-catch-all word for Europeans. Of course, they also used other adjectives, especially after the atrocities of 1509.

Here’s a more positive tale of a brave Portuguese sea-captain. And his Spanish mates.

The UK  

It seems I was way out in (jokingly) suggesting the wait to walk past the ex-queen’s coffin might be 10 hours; I’ve now read reports that it can be 30 hours . . . How very British to honour Liz with a possibly the longest queue in history.

This is a nice article on the 18th century villages which would eventually be absorbed into London. Nearly all of them feature the parrish church. 

The EU

I wonder how this development will be regarded by the Greek ex Finance Minister whose criticisms of EU strategy was cited here yesterday. 


John Kelly did some secret research on his new boss. I’m not sure it did him any good.


El showcooking

Finally   . . . . 

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.