Showing posts from September, 2019

Enjoying Cantabria

Living in Galicia, we tend to think it's the greenest area of Spain. But the rest of northern Spain is green, as well. It's even greener in other areas because eucalyptus trees are not as exploited as they are here. So, you'll see firs, chestnuts, oaks, and many other deciduous trees.  So, Cantabria is green . It was our vacation this year, five years after our last one. Luck had it that I chose one of the most peaceful and beautiful spots as our base, Vega de Pas. It's called that because of the Pas river that runs through it, but it should be called Paz, instead, for peace .  The first day or two there were still plenty of visitors, but then the fifteenth of the month passed, and suddenly, most of them were gone. The first couple of nights we had the choice of four or five restaurants. After that, the choice whittled down to two and then one. Even the bars of the other restaurants closed, at least earlier in the evening. Few cars passed through. Few enough that a

Goodbye, Democracy

Democracy isn't what it used to be. Once upon a time, about forty years ago, what people decided in the voting booths was pretty much what came about politically. Yes, even then there were interferences from special interests, and politicians who said one thing and then listened to their cronies and friends instead of the people who voted for them. But they were the exceptions, not the majority. Once upon a time, the intent of democracy was to enfranchise as many people as possible, so that ALL the people would be represented in government. Everyone was supposed to have a say, everyone was supposed to be able to participate in public affairs. That idea originated in Western countries, and was transported to many others. In some countries, things got twisted and "everybody" came to mean only a certain elite, but, in general, the idea travelled well.  Now, the idea is dying or dead. The most obvious and sad example is what is happening in the United States. Politician

The Night of the Santa Compaña

Last month was like a month of spring plunked down in summer. Rain would show up out of nowhere, and temperatures, while not very low, were not as nice as they should have been. While other parts of Spain and Europe were sweltering in above-average temperatures, ours, in our little corner, were below-average. As a consequence, festivals were either rained upon or cancelled and re-scheduled. One of the events re-scheduled to yesterday, was a night walk in the woods up a hill. It was called the Andaina Santa Compaña, and was designed to be a fun walk to the top of the hill called the Castro Barbudo, along with a few scares straight out of folklore and Halloween. My daughter convinced me to sign up and go along with her and some cousins of ours. It was eight kilometers, and that wasn't so difficult for me to walk, though it seemed much more because of the terrain, all the people, and the three hours it took. We began at eleven, and when we arrived back it was two in the morning. I

The World in Your Hand

I won't look at my breakfast blueberries the same way again. My daughter worked two weeks at a blueberry plantation to pick up some extra money. She wanted a temporary job where she had to use her hands. She would have preferred picking grapes, but the transportation logistics (again) have made it impossible so far. This job came along, with someone who would drive her every day, so she took it. There, she spent some time in the blueberry rows, but most of her time was spent in the selection shed. She came away with several things. That she would prefer working in the sun, even in the heat; that she doesn't want to select another blueberry; and the friendships she made.  There were people there from Spain, Morocco, Romania, and Senegal, at the least. Seven languages or more were spoken or known by the different people. Habits, customs, religions, were all different, so were work habits. There were different types of people, from religious Muslims who sometimes listened to