11 October 2022: Travel news; The looming Day of Spanishness; That judicial dispute; Bog standard Trump; Nice train trips; & 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’

Travel News

Zaragoza . . . . An entirely different city at 8 on a Monday morning. Or even 8 of a Monday evening. A lot fewer folk on the streets, making it much easier to enjoy the city’s wide range of Mudejar buildings. The basilica – said to the largest baroque construction in Spain – is, naturally, full of all the expensive things which make me angry after I’ve marvelled at the craftsmanship. Not to mention all the ladies of a certain age crossing themselves and lighting (plastic) candles. As I think I’ve said before, it’s astonishing – even for this ex-Catholic – how much stress Christianity places on the suffering, pain and death of its ’star’ adherents. Though the first, Jesus, was of course of the Jewish faith . . .

This (4-star*) hotel has 2 coffee machines in its restaurant. One of them doesn’t work at all and the other malfunctioned, giving me a very short americano, when I asked for a long one. The waitress’s reaction, when I pointed this out, was to shrug and suggest I press the button 2 or 3 times. A solution I’d already had the wit to hit on. But the worst thing about the restaurant was the ‘teenagers’ music’ being played loudly. Wanting to read and write for a couple of hours, I  had to move to the far end of the adjacent – and large – lobby to get away from it. And almost succeeded. The hardships of modern travel!

In case you’re wondering, this is the neckerchief – el cachirulo – worn by the Aragonese during their festivities. When you can buy one from one of the many African sellers wandering around with handfuls of them:-

* Insisted on my my rather wealthy old friend.

Cosas de España

The Day of Spanishness. This is what it’s all about. I see that here in Zaragoza we’ll have have something grand in the square in front of the basilica. And I’ve just been told our room rate will rise by 50% if we decide to stay tonight. So, we’ll be off towards Pamplona midday.

I’ve mentioned the size of said basilica. This is another large – and surprising – construction in Spain.

This is the latest development in that politics-driven stand-off over the membership of the judiciary’s governing body:-

Here’s what the Voz de Galicia reports this morning: The resignation of the president of the Judiciary and the Supreme Courts has put the batteries to[infra] the Government and the PP and they met urgently in Moncloa yesterday. In the meeting, which lasted more than e hours, Sánchez and Feijoo talked about unblocking the CGPJ. It is only known that they agreed to make “a last attempt” to renew the judicial body. A “new framework that strengthens independence criteria”, according to the opposition leader.

Ex-president Trump had expressed his support for Spain’s far-right Vox party, using a multi-purpose paragraph which surely has in it [Insert name of country here]:We are all experiencing a unique situation. We have to make sure that we defend the borders and the conservative agenda. Spain is a great country and that I hope that it will continue as such.

Here are 5 train trips in Spain you shouldn’t miss. One of them starts in the North of Galicia and ends in León, taking quite some time to do so. 

María’s Beginning Over 25: Looking into the past.

The UK

Very possibly true . . . Many voters haven’t yet woken up to the truth: that, thanks to the extraordinary costs of, first, the Covid lockdowns and, now, Putin’s war on Ukraine, we are on the cusp of an era-defining economic emergency. And many Tories are in no mood to level with the voters. Given that the shutdowns and energy vulnerability were self-inflicted, they would struggle to explain how things have unravelled.

The Way of the World

Would  you believe . . .? 

The first BBC newsreaders were chosen for clarity and correct accent. But, during WW2, Wilfred Pickles was preferred because his Yorkshire accent made it it harder for the Nazis to imitate him.


Poner las pilas a: Literally ‘To put the batteries to’. To do something vigorously; to get a move on; to pull your socks up, etc. In the above case, ‘to encourage early action’, I guess.

Una carta de despedida: A ‘Dear John’ letter. Also called A polite FO letter.

Una VUT; Una vivienda de uso turistico.  An Airbnb place or the like, I guess. Big blue plaque near the entrance. Not sure what purpose it serves.

Finally   . . . .   

To amuse . . .

Welcome to new subscriber: vivianywt 

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.