2 May 2023

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/Galiza

Correction: It’s not the 1920’s dictator whose body lay alongside Franco’s in the Basilica and has now been moved to a Madrid cemetery; it’s that of his son, the founder of Spain’s fascist organisation, the Falange Española.

A headline in Faro de Vigo. The Mediterranean climate will reach Galicia within 50 years. Presumably occupied then by all those from the South who’ve left behind desert conditions down there. Time to buy a holiday/retirement home in Galicia? As I – wisely – did 23 years ago, when I first heard talk of this nature from Brits then living in the South. It’s reported that a rapidly increasing number of North Americans are doing this already, fleeing the benighted USA. Possibly those who’ve done a camino de Santiago.

When I came to live in Spain in 2000, I was assured a few times: I’m not racist but I hate gypsies. I was reminded of this when reading the headline in a local paper, quoting a leading light in the local gypsy community: La gente prefiere tener de vecino a un narcotraficante que a un gitano. So, maybe things haven’t changed much in 20+ years.

But one thing certainly has changed, possibly accelerated by Covid losses. Businesses are no longer willing to accept the casual Spanish way of making appointments and then not showing up. Or changing/cancelling bookings at the last moment. Fees are beginning to be charged for this. Even pilgrim albergues are taking bankcard details, so that miscreants can be charged.

The average cost for a First Holy Communion celebration is now €5,000 in Galicia. Possibly more elsewhere. I wonder if you can take out insurance when a child is born. Or join a savings scheme.

Our car-hating mayor in Pv city says that these 2 large carparks on the Lérez side of the river are to be replaced by parkland, leaving the question of where people who come to the city to fill them before 8am will put their cars. Not to mention those who come to the sports centre behind them. Perhaps another revenue-generating underground parking somewhere.

P. S. My house is top right . . .

Quote of The Day

Most (North)Americans are impressively stupid about Iran. Not just Americans, I imagine


This is the17th largest nation in the world, more than twice the size of Texas and even more richly stocked with oil and natural gas. It’s also a booming industrial power. It has a thriving automobile industry, for example, and builds and launches its own orbital satellites. It’s been dealing with severe US sanctions since not long after the Shah fell in 1978, so it’s a safe bet that the Iranian government and industrial sector know every imaginable trick for getting around those sanctions. I hanker after a return visit, en route to Samarkand.

The Way of the World

A person with a penis – a ‘PWAP’? – has become ‘Queen of the Mountains’ after winning the 5-stage Tour of the Gila in the USA. Hard not to laugh.

The writer of this article much regrets that the quasi-religious sect of transgenderism has stuck its tentacles into the world’s most fabulous festival of camp – Eurovision

Finally . . .

It’s long been possible to buy joke driving licences in Ukraine, eg of Mrs Merkel or President, Zelensky or . . . . local ‘hero’ Boris Johnson. After the EU brought in temporary EU rules allowing people fleeing Ukraine to continue to use their Ukrainian licences, a whole new market was created for these forgeries, at €159 each. It’s an ill wind . . .

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.


  1. “It’s been dealing with severe US sanctions since not long after the Shah fell in 1978, so it’s a safe bet that the Iranian government and industrial sector know every imaginable trick for getting around those sanctions. ”

    Absolutely, which is why the Russians, one of the first things they did after February 2022, was to go to Teheran notebook in hand and listen from first hand source how it is done (busting sanctions). Aeroflot is now sending its boeing&airbus fleet there for maintenance&repairs.

    If you have been to Isfahan, as I am sure you have, Samarkand could be a bit of a disappointment. I have been to both.


  2. Thanks for the warning.

    Yes, I know Isfahan very well and have some beautiful fotos of times spent there, and in Yazd and Shiraz.

    I’ve been wondering what Samarkand would be like after the (restored) mosques.



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