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Buildings in Ferrol

On the way in to Ferrol from the ship we passed an area known as Arsenal Militar. A mannequin recalled Spain’s military past. Here’s a photo with some beardy bloke beside it:-

Soldier Mannequin

Ferrol seems to be laid out in a grid pattern though the streets are not wide. This was at siesta time when the streets emptied:-

asiesta time

A square in Ferrol:-

Old and New

The building to the left of the square in the photo above has an odd mixture of architectural styles. See the glass gable-end:-

Odd Mix of Architectural Styles, Ferrol

It was also hard by what may be a memorial to Spain’s colonial wars (if I can trust my reading of the Spanish inscription.) It was in the middle of a busy road so I didn’t linger long:-

Colonial War Memorial, Ferrol

You know you’re not in Calvinist Scotland any more when you come across a statue like this in an otherwise perfectly normal street. (Hooded penitents are apparently a big part of Holy Week celebrations in Ferrol.):-

Hooded Penitent Statue, Ferroll

Ferrol, Galicia, Spain

Ferrol, or El Ferrol, in the province of A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, was known for forty-four years as El Ferrol del Caudillo as it was the birthplace, in 1892, of dictator Francisco Franco. Curiously, in some sort of political karmic equalistion it was also the birthplace of the founder of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), Pablo Iglesias, in 1850.

The town is a mixture of ancient and modern with the older parts near to the harbour.

This is a stitch of three photos taken from the ship at berth:-

Ferrol from Ship's Berth

Ferrrol has been a shipbuilding town since the time of the early Bourbon kings of Spain, capital of the Spanish Navy’s Maritime Department of the North. This looked like an aircraft carrier:-

Aircraft Carrier in Dock at Ferrol

Another naval ship:-

Naval Ship Docked in Ferrol

These buildings were hard by the harbour:-

Sea Front Building, Ferrol, Galicia, Spain

Older Fortification and Newer Buildings, Ferrol

Avilés, Asturias, Spain

The photograph below is of a colourful bridge which is the second part of the direct pedestrian access to the Centro Niemeyer from Avilés town and which we used in the afternoon. Another (curved) walkway leading to a small park (once you cross the railway and the road on shore) lies behind. We used that one to get to the town in the morning:-

Colourful Bridge, Avilés, Asturias, Spain

View of buildings in Avilés taken from the from same vantage point as the photo above. There were men precariously at work on the roof of the building which has blue sheeting on its gable! (just to left of centre of photo.):-

Avilés From Bridge to Town

Balconies were a feature of lots of buildings in Avilés. Also spot the street sculpture in the roadway below the yellow/mustard coloured building and the mural beyond:-

Balconies, Sculpture and Gable-end Mural

As we were walking through the town a local heard us speaking English and kindly directed us to an example of what is apparently a traditional kind of Asturian building. On wooden stilts! It was the only one of its kind we saw though:-

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Avilés has lots of old buildings like this church, Parroquia de San Nicolás de Bari de Avilés:-

Panorama of Church

The City Hall is much more recent though:-

City Hall, Avilés

Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre, Avilés

The first thing that strikes you as you look from a ship in dock at Avilés, Asturias, Spain, is the stunning set of Modernist buildings below which collectively make up the Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre or Centro Niemeyer.

Stitch of two photos:-

Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre, Avilés

View looking back from the walkway to the town, Reflections in the Ria de Avilés:-

Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre, Avilés

Closer View showing stylised flower sculpture:-

Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre, by Ria de Avilés

Dome and Auditorium (curved building):-

Detail, Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre, Avilés

Auditorium with “stick” horse:-

Close View, Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre, Avilés

Stairway and vents:-

Stairway and Vents, Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre, Avilés

Tower:-

Tower, Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre, Avilés

Dome, SS Black Watch in background:-

Dome, Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre, Avilés

“Stick” horse detail:-

Horse Detail, Oscar Niemeyer Centre, Avilés

Stylised flowers, Avilés in background:-

Stylised Flowers, Oscar Niemeyer Centre

Dome and Tower:-

Dome and Tower, Oscar Niemeyer Centre

Flowers and Avilés:-

Niemeyer Stylised Flowers

Low rise building. (It’s multi-purpose. It seemed to house the restaurant/café):-

Low Rise Building, Oscar Niemeyer Centre, Avilés

Auditorium reverse angle:-

Curved Building, Oscar Niemeyer Centre, Avilés

Auditorium and tower:-

Curved Building and Tower

Edited to add: Actually on closer inspection that “stick” horse may be a “stick” woman.

Getxo, Port of Bilbao

Getxo is in the Biscay Province of the autonomous region of the Basque Country, in northern Spain. Nowadays it acts as the port for Bilbao. More ships can moor there than can make it up the river to Bilbao itself. The day we were there we took an organised coach-trip into Bilbao to make sure we would see the Guggenheim Museum. The photos I took through the coach windows all have a slight greenish tinge as a result.

There are some fantastic buildings on Getxo sea-front, built, we were told, by English people who came to make their fortunes in the 19th century.

This one had some deco styling:-

aGetxo 2

Impressive building (and hedging):-

aGetxo 3

Deco elements to the chimney stacks here (and some rule of three):-

Sea Front Building, Getxo

Old wall, newer buildings:-

More of Sea-front, Getxo

Curious rounded elements to the left here like car park ramps or fortifications:-

aGetxo 5

They are just balconies, though:-

aGetxo 10

Exit. (England 1-2 Iceland)

Euro 2016, Round of 16, Stade de Nice, 27/6/16.

It’s hard not to think that there’s some sort of karma about this result. After England voting to leave the EU (loosely referred to as Europe) its football team has just departed Europe unwillingly.

The commentator on ITV called it a humiliation and also used the word embarrassment. The unspoken assumption (though it was all but articulated) was that England should always be beating Iceland.

Well; to anyone who had watched Iceland’s group games this was no surprise. Iceland are supremely well organised, the players know what they’re supposed to be doing and play for the team and each other. They drew with Portugal and group winners Hungary and then beat Austria, well fancied before the tournament began. If that wasn’t sufficient warning as to what to expect what would be? Using words such as embarrassment and humiliation is extremely disrespectful to a group of players who work their socks off and have no little ability. I expect France will also find it hard to break them down in the next round.

Iceland know their limitations and strengths, and play to them; as a team. The same was true of Italy earlier in what was a magnificent team performance against Spain.

In this respect it is also hard to resist the temptation to remark that English football commentators have an inflated idea of the worth of their country’s footballers based on club performances. Just reflect, not one of those players is good enough to play for an overseas team. They appear effective at club level only because they are surrounded by foreign players who make them look good. And the clubs of the league they play in have not made too much of a splash in the so-called Champions League of late. (OK, Liverpool made the final of the Europa League this season but that was mostly due to foreigners, manager included.)

England’s most penetrative player tonight was an 18 year old who was only brought on to the pitch when it was far too late and has in any case not yet had the enthusiasm and any latent talent knocked out of him by unwarranted expectation.

New Cup, New Laws

I see from the club website that the Challenge Cup has been given a revamp so that it will now include more Scottish clubs from outwith the SPFL, top division under 20 sides and even clubs from Wales and Northern Ireland. The format looks like a right dog’s dinner.

I note that Tier 2 clubs won’t be joining till Round 3. It won’t make any difference to us. We always lose in it anyway. (I doubt being seeded will alter that at all.)

What concerns me most is the inclusion of the top division under 20s sides. This feels like the thin end of a wedge that will eventually see them allowed to play in the lower leagues. I know similar provision happens in Spain etc with reserve teams but the Scottish scene has unique characteristics that make me uncomfortable at the thought.

Edited to add. I just took in the fact that the draw will be regionalised. Fat chance of me getting to a a game then. (But maybe we’ll be in the North for that too.)

There have also been changes to the laws of the game. We’ll need to see how those work out.

Pollok House, Pollok Park, Glasgow

Pollok House, not owned by but run by the National Trust for Scotland, is in the south side of Glasgow, set in great parkland; so much so you would never believe you were in the middle of a big city.

Pollok House, showing gates on to parkland of Pollok Park, Glasgow:-

Pollok House Frontage

This is a stitch of three photos to get in the full frontage. In reality the grass and road don’t have that bend in them:-

Pollok House, Glasgow

The house contains an array of paintings – mostly of that branch of the Hapsburg family who ruled Spain for centuries. Being notoriously in-bred they are a fairly unprepossessing bunch. The very informative guide was much more taken with this painting by El Greco of rather different content; Lady in a Fur Wrap (picture from BBC Your Paintings):-

Lady in a Fur Wrap, El Greco, Pollok House, Glasgow

A certificate on an internal wall on the corridor leading to the tea-room (which has a marvellous setting, being housed in what was the Edwardian kitchen) commemorates the house’s use as a hospital during the Great War:-

Pollok House Great War Certificate

On a wall of Pollok House’s garden facing the parkland area there is a War Memorial dedicated to the men from the tenantry and staff of Nether Pollok who served in the Great War. There are 58 names on the cartouche. Beside 13 of them is inscribed “killed” – beside another it states “died”.

Pollok House War Memorial

That makes 14 out of the 58 who went away that lost their lives as a consequence. A fraction under a quarter of the total. And some of the others would have been wounded.

And Now I’m Back

I’ve been in Holland.

Well, strictly speaking, since it was on the borders of the Friesland and Groningen provinces, make that The Netherlands.

The good lady’s eldest brother lives there. We had been supposed to visit for years but life got in the way.

We needed to renew our passports first. I sent the applications away late in July. Despite all the talk on the news about delays we got the new ones inside a week. (As I remember it was four days.) Maybe the Glasgow Passport office is more efficient than down south.

So another country visited. Apart from the constituent parts of the UK (though I only just made it into Wales) I’ve been to Sweden (Stockholm,) the Soviet Union (Leningrad as was) and Denmark (Copenhagen) on a school cruise when I was at Primary School, Portugal (the Azores, Madeira, Lisbon) and Spain (Vigo) on a Secondary School cruise, and as an adult to Germany (near Stuttgart) and France twice (Normandy for the D-Day beaches and Picardy for World War I battlefields.)

Since the good lady didn’t fancy being on a RoRo ferry overnight we drove down to Harwich (with an overnight stop) and the same on the way back. I’m knackered.

Germanic Hegemony Looms

Over the past eight years Spain dominated the international football tournaments in which they took part – though they had a premonitory blip in last year’s Confederations Cup (and what a misleading pointer that final turned out to be.)

After the win by Germany in Rio on Sunday we could be in for a longer period of domination than the Spanish enjoyed as the German players are quite young and will only have gained in confidence from their achievement. I don’t know if I can stand that thought, though.

Still, at least it gives Scotland an early opportunity to claim their scalp as the two countries meet on Sep 7th in the first qualifying game for the 2016 European Championships.

The late World Cup has unified the FIFA and Unofficial Football World Championships. Going into it Uruguay were the holders of the unofficial title but swiftly lost it to Costa Rica.

For historical reasons Scotland is actually at the top of the unofficial football championship rankings. The September game will give Scotland a chance to reclaim the actual title – if Argentina don’t beat the Germans in their friendly a few days before.

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