18 October 2022: Travel News; Bear scares; Mojácar then & now; Galician undergrads; Understanding the UK; & 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’

Final Travel News

I forgot to mention that, on long stretches of the roads of Aragón and Navarra, it was just me and the hawks. Possibly an eagle or two. Though more likely buzzards. Oh, and the occasional traffic cop with a book to fill.

Cosas de España/Galicia

The old friend who travelled with me for 10 days asked about bears in Spain and admitted they frightened him, even if there’s more chance of being killed by a boar than a bear. As it happens, I saw this article last night and forwarded it to him. He expressed gratitude that I haven’t taken him to Aragón and Navarra via Asturias. Next time.

Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas was brought up in Mojácar in Almería. Back then, he says. it was was a poor village, in a poor province, with little sign of architectural excellence beyond the drama of the glorious tangle of cubed homes (painted white in the mid-sixties by order of Mayor Jacinto) – briefly a bohemian place for foreigners and Spaniards alike to hide from reality. But things have changed, and for the worse. When money meets taste, claims Lenox there’s no competition – undoubtedly correctly. Mojácar became a place for tourism, urbanisations, hotels, get-rich-quick-schemes and family politics. No wonder he doesn’t live now in this once-enchanted place. I have similar memories  of – and regrets about – the little fishing village of La Herradura – between Nerja and Almuñecar – of the early 1980s. Which has ‘progressed’. Like somewhat larger and more urban Oporto.

When I first came here in 2000, there was a report in the Voz de Galicia that the average duration of a (theoretical) 4-year Law degree course in Santiago university was 11 years. And that there’d been a student in the faculty for 27(sic) years. But things have clearly improved, as the VdG reported yesterday that: Galician university students take slightly more than 5 years, on average, to finish 4-year degrees courses. In some faculties – such as architecture, veterinary medicine and engineering – most students take more than 6 years.  


There are parts of Portugal where you can drive for hours and see nothing but cork trees – until you get to towns which sell a vast rage of products made of the stuff. I had thought the industry was in decline but maybe it isn’t, even if some of us much prefer screw caps to corks in our wine bottles. Or even plastic ones. 

The UK

This (extremely clear) podcast might just help you understand what has happened in the UK in the last week or so. On the other hand, it might not. Essentially: Deficits don’t matter until the bond vigilantes ride into town. And then they certainly do, at least when the inflation rate is high and rising,

One is forced to conclude that the world is now too complex for its own good. And is heading for (another) almighty crash, possibly in your lifetime. Or even next week.

Meanwhile . . .

And . . .

Finally   . . . .   

To amuse . . . Possibly unintelligible to non-Brits:-

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.