27 October 2022: Spanish banking; The (possible) original camino de Santiago; Strange October weather; Today’s Germany; Yesterday’s Germans; & 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 España/Galicia    

Lenox Napier of Business Over Tapas writes here of his banking experiences over the decades. How well I recall the 2002-8 crazy era, when cheap German and French money flooded Spain and the local banks went mad – opening subsidiaries everywhere – sometimes 2 on the same street – offering towels, crockery and then cash bribes to persuade you to open an account and then take out a loan you couldn’t afford. Backed by a false assessment of your assets from their own tame evaluation company. So you could get a boat or a car as well as a house. Frankly, it was hard to believe it was happening. But the 20 houses behind mine that stayed empty for 12 years were evidence enough. The incident I recall best was being charged a fortune to close my account and move my savings to another bamk. Fortunately, the phase of cash-bribing had arrived to compensate me.

Allariz is a pretty Galician village up near Ourense. I’d never heard of this claim to fame.

Nice too see a couple of Galicia parks included in this article:-

Also nice – but over-romanticised – is this video on the very first camino de Santiago, taken by the headless saint in a crew-less stone boat. Possibly. It’s in Spanish but with English subtitles. I had to laugh at the description of Villagarcia as ‘thriving’ – it’s the centre of our narcotráfico business. At 11.05 you can see the church in Esclavitud that I recently wrote about. They must have cleared out the packed streets of Santiago de Compostela to shoot the final scenes.

Over the years, I’ve expressed great surprise that we have more than 10 local daily newspapers and wondered how they can all stay in business. Well, Lenox tells us that: The venerable Correo Gallego has gone bust, with debts of over €20m[!]. He adds that: A couple of rivals are interested in buying the remains at auction. I wonder why. 

Here in Galicia, it’s certainly warmer than average for October. And very wet. Perhaps this explains the 50+ fruit flies that have drowned in vinegar in my kitchen over the last few days and the 10+ I’ve squashed between my palms this morning. But where do the pesky things come from? The supermarket fruit??

Well, it’s Pv city – not the province – which has the good air to breathe. Needless to say, our mayor puts this down to his anti-car measures but reader Perry would argue with him on this, it seems. It’s not possible, he says, for one city to breathe different air from the other 5 in the region.

The UK

At last some good news . . . Rishi Sunak is preparing a radical set of reforms to transform the nation’s education system. The prime minister is planning far-reaching changes including a new “British baccalaureate” and a network of elite technical institutes to transform vocational training.

Russia

This is Part 1 of a BBC series on Russia, entitled The Traumazone. It covers the years 1985 to 1989 and left me with reduced surprise that the Russian army has proved less than efficient in Ukraine.

Germany

Interesting news: Germany’s health minister has presented to the cabinet a plan for the “most liberal legalisation of cannabis in Europe”. .Germany, he said could be a model for Europe and that We want to control the whole market. Just Germany or the whole EU? Is there much of a difference? But, anyway, The plan, which would make Germany the 2nd EU country to legalise the recreational use of cannabis, after Malta, is aimed at curbing the black market and organised drug crime.

The Way of the World 

Another nice video:-

Did you know? 

In his marvellous book The Silk Roads, British historian, Peter Frankopan, writes that the real reason Hitler invaded Russia was to get the wheat and grain fields of Ukraine and the Caucuses in order to ensure enough food for blockaded, deprived Germans. An integral element of the plan was that millions of people north of this area would then starve to death. When the plan – despite huge initial military successes – failed, Hitler’s decision was to increase the food available for Germans by deliberately slaughtering the 2 groups of people he hated most – the Russians and Jews under the control of his Thousand Year Reich. Firstly via starvation and then by gassing. As Frankopan puts it:  The failure of the land to generate wheat in the anticipated quantities was a direct cause of the Holocaust.

As for the vile officers and bureaucrats who implemented the orders of the insanely depraved Hitler: Contempt for the Slavs, hatred of Bolshevism and anti-Semitism ran through the veins of the officer corps. These now blended, ‘as the ideological yeast whose fermentation now easily converted the generals into accessories to mass murder’. 

Could it happen again? Yes. Unless the young are regularly reminded of it. With or with our trigger warnings.

Quote of The Day

As I know so well here in Spain . . . The trouble with being punctual is that nobody is there to appreciate it: Franklin Jones.

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.

One comment

  1. So true what Lenox says about banks.
    For one reason or another until recently I had 5 accounts in 1 bank. And aprox 12 months ago they started charging commission on each account. I get on well with the Assistant Manager, oops I mean sub-director, so charges were subtly dropped. Only recently she got grief about this and has had to put the commission through on all 5 accounts. In response I have reduced 5 accounts to 2.

    Like

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