Franco's Resting Place: This, of course, is the dreadful mausoleum in the even-more horrific Valley of the Fallen in the hills above Madrid. I'm on record as saying this should be blown up. So, I was naturally pleased to read in Guy Hedgecoe's essay Freezing Franco that an eminent historian - José Álvarez Junco - agrees with me on this. Though Hedgecoe says his suggestion is only 'half-serious'. Hmm.
Spanish Debt: Whatever economic recovery there's been here – and opinions differ, of course – it's been largely financed by increased public debt. This has now reached the highest level in 20 years, at more than 100% of GDP. Opinions will also differ as to whether this is at all relevant. Some details here.
Nude Bathing in Spain: If this is your bag – but not if you're baggy – then here's The Local's view of the 10 best beaches for you in Spain. I know of at least 3 such beaches near to Pontevedra and am disappointed that none of them appears in the list.
Spanish Football Commentary: This is even worse than the UK's, where dumb ex-players are the usual fare. In Spain, the commentators feel obliged to describe everything you can already see on the screen, as if you were totally blind. Discussion is rare and it all reminds me of the wonderful observation that TV in Spain is radio with pictures. Even the heavy stuff such as the tertulias involving 4-8 political commentators shouting at each other, simultaneously.
Soccer Violence: It was almost nice to see that the Russian thugs in France are not confining themselves to bashing British bonces. Seven of them have been arrested for an unprovoked attack on 3 Spaniards in Cologne, one of whom ended up with a broken nose. This time, though, the French police managed to make 6 arrests. Did RT TV report on this today? . . . . Well, not so far. The channel has been far more concerned with providing ridiculous reasons for the West punishing Russia for its institutional doping of athletes. Not that RT TV ever reports it as anything but the fault of some bad apples. Nowt to do with the state. Talking of this wonderfully amusing channel, one of the most irritating useful US idiots is Lionel, who sees himself thus. There's a more objective(?) take on him here on Wiki. He must have one of the most annoying voices in the world of TV. A handicap, I would have thought. Which makes this wiki fact rather incredible: Lionel is a voice actor sought-after emcee and speaker, and provides lecture series around the country.
Spanish Tourism: This is going great guns this year, in part as a result of people eschewing hot spots around the world. But Russian tourists – long big on the Costa del Crime – are being advised to stay at home by the travel agency Aviasales. Reasons given include:-
- In Europe, you will be signed into LGBT – but in Sochi, you will meet only straight people.
- You will definitely be mugged by refugees in Europe – whereas in Russia there will be only Russians.
- Europeans will drug you by force with marijuana, whereas in Crimea they can enjoy some proper tobacco.
- GMO-modified tomatoes are prevalent in Europe. Natural potatoes can be eaten only in Russia.
Finally . . . A personal note. I might complain about the upsurge in foreign visitors to Ponters this year but one of my joys is talking to some of them about eating here and enjoying the old quarter. Occasionally, I'm rewarded by the sort of delightful dinner with 12 Californians last Wednesday evening. As I've said, 11 of these were women but this was purely incidental, of course.