Thursday, 3 August 2017

Street life

In the local paper one day earlier this week I read that Vigo council had been fined €5,000 for tarmacking a path in the Castrelos park without permission. I seem to remember it was a pedestrian path alongside one of the stretches where cars can actually drive. Nobody had permission to resurface it and it did not connect to any of the cycle paths through the park. And so, despite not actually causing any harm or being unsightly, the path led to a big fine.

The council could have put that money towards beautifying our stretch of Calle Aragon. The long section from Calvario to the ridiculous roundabout with the lighthouse (which Phil insists is a pawn from a chess set) has been nicely renovated with smart new pavements. The stretch from the Carrefour shopping centre to just beyond the breadshop has also been done. (Sadly, in both stretches the smart new pavements have already begun to be marked with the splodges of discarded chewing gum but that is another problem.) All along the central reservation plants have been tastefully inserted. So it's just our section of the street that has the old, messy, sometimes cracked pavement. Maybe next year ...

Money is clearly being spent beautifying the streets of Vigo. Last year we noticed a positive explosion of olive trees on street corners and occasionally on small roundabouts. Vigo is the Ciudad Olívica, after all. They appeared to be quite mature trees transplanted wholesale but looking remarkably like giant bonsais, if such a thing is possible.

This year a different kind of street decor has erupted, in keeping with the lighthouse/pawn, complete with turning light at the top, on the roundabout near our flats. Here are some photos.

On the Avenida Del Alcalde Gregorio Espino (wonderful name!) the entrance to the underpass has been elaborately decorated with a seascape. My sister did wonder if the lighthouse was some kind of white dalek. she has a powerful imagination!

On Rosalía de Castro an amazing video feature has appeared. The circular screen which goes around the roundabout features underwater scenes, all in motion and occasional information about coming events. Surely it must be really distracting to drivers.

Another bit of fancy work on Gregorio Espino is a representation of something in the way of marine life. From the general shape of it I had decided it must be an oddly coloured whale. Then my daughter pointed out that it seems to have tentacles and is probably an octopus. Quite so! That would explain the colour as well.

Perhaps the wildest is the one I have not managed to photograph because I have only seen it from a car whose windscreen was too filthy to make photography possible. On a large roundabout on the Avenida de Castelao, heading towards Samil, there is a large fishing boat. This is a real, genuine fishing boat, lovingly restored by the look of it, a fitting tribute to the fishermen of Vigo.

As you drive up the avenue, the boat dominates the view. Unsuspecting drivers who do not know the area must wonder if it has been dropped from the sky by a tornado. I am told that there was much controversy about the installation of this "barcazo" (big boat). Some people objected to the money that was spent on it but in the end the mayor had his way and the roundabout was adorned with the aforementioned fishing boat.

Where is the money coming from for all this street decor? And why is our bit of street not getting new pavements?

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