2010/05/30

The floor of the church, in the form of a Latin cross, is essentially Romanesque, with cruise or transept and walls closing in this style

There is a long history of the cross-fertilisation of marine and ecclesiastical architecture, from Jesus' boat-church on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:1: "And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.") to the inverted church-boat which is our nave (Greek naos/Latin navis).

So I rather like the Ayuntamiento de Tuy's idea of tearing up conservation protocol and building perhaps a Caribbean cruise ship jacuzzi with glass roof and cocktail bar into the crossing of its fortress-cathedral. I think the theology could be made to work, but the plumbing is anyone's guess.

2010/05/27

No take out trollers

Someone told me about this sign on the perimeter fence of the cargo area at Gerona Airport, which is accessible via the small service road leading to the eminently avoidable restaurant El Mirador. So the plan was: exit terminal, get photo, stroll to Riudellots taking forest path to avoid road-side predators, beer & bite in the excellent bar opposite the station and abattoir, train to Barcelona. Unfortunately the sight of a mysterious man in a Sendero Luminoso headpiece scrabbling in his rucksack to recover an electronic device brought two Mossos on flashing motorbikes and an urgent injunction to be gone.

"No take out trollers" could mean that the facility does not sell for off-premise consumption the posters of inflammatory messages in online communities or, in older usage, anglers. It could also be a pidgin request not to assassinate them. Or it might have something to do with the red javelin-pierced trolley iconised beside it. Who knows.

I'll get it next time.

2010/05/15

Physically impossible entry

No 31 in this New York Times collection of strange street signs.

My impression is that the Chinese are ahead, but it seems hard to criticise them for this: huge efforts have been made over the past decade to make a previously sternly monolingual country more accessible to foreigners; the effort is laudable and the meaning usually clear.

It is harder to defend Spain, which has had mass Anglo tourism and immigration for a long time but failed to respond adequately. This effort by Granada Council is a bit sad--you know what they mean, and if they'd gone into a tourist bar they could have had it corrected for free. However, Granada is still way ahead of places like Ripoll, which houses one of the marvels of Iberian Romanesque but doesn't think it worth advertising that fact in any but the local language.

No translation: no mistakes, but less tourists too. "Wher herte is failed,/Ther schal no castell ben assailed," but you've got to wonder in cases like Ripoll whether the heart is even willing.

2010/05/12

"High-speed lift" expected in Mojácar in 6-7 years

The Entertainer Online reports on the Association of Merchants and Entrepreneurs Mojácar's interest in exploiting to the full the arrival of technology that sounds like it will have even the bullet-trained Japanese writhing with envy. In deference to their example, and bearing in mind local cultural interests I suppose you could rechristen the AVE "Bullevator".

2010/05/02

SUV, "vehículo deportivo"

Re the Times Square car bomb, José M Guardia comments on the mistranslation of Chelsea tractor by Cadena Ser and others. While their minds may well be as furry as porcine slurry, the marketing of a vehicle allegedly (where?) designed for exotic and perilous deserts to surgically improved mums to transport their precious tots half a mile to school does create ample scope for creativity.

[
I wonder if the use of an SUV by the would-be New York bomber is not a sign of its decline as a status symbol. There was a great growth in their use in Spain at the time of the "No war for oil" movement, demonstrating the paradoxical nature of tercermundista anti-Americanism, but my impression this last year is that sales are down vis-à-vis other types. Maybe the cultural lead-time between Anglocabronía and Barcelona isn't as great as some expat bar pundits believe.
]

2010/05/01

Follow Galician reapers to Castilian labour camps on the St James' Way

The Dirección General de Turismo of the Junta de Castilla y León writes of "Way from Madrid," one of the Santiago pilgrimage trails:
Who go along it encounter stretches of Roman road, overcome with joy the mountain's summit Fuenfría, emulate the  Galician reapers along the trails that led them to labor camps in Castilla la Nueva and, ultimately, pay homage to Pilgrim Virgin of Sahagun while are linking to the path that comes by the traditional way which starts at Somport or Roncesvalles in Spain.
The next paragraph establishes a new frontier between metric and imperial measures in the ever-evolving cultural geography of Europe: while the distance from Madrid (which we are helpfully reminded is the capital of Spain) to Sahagún is 325.3km, when in that thriving metropolis we join the French Way French influence mysteriously ends and we are told,  in a manner comprehensible only to elderly Anglo-Saxons, that the remainder of the journey is "something over 364 miles."

Translation is hard work, so the next-but-one paragraph is quite sensibly left in Spanish. Finally, having transported us all this way from the capital of the empire, "only straight horizon which is broken by the verticality of the towers of the churches and trees like  protagonists of the banks of rivers and streams," our guide has a sudden and miraculous change of heart and decides that this is not in fact "Way from Madrid," but "Way to Madrid," perhaps as in "All roads lead to..."