Couto Mixto: The 700-Year-Old Independent Galician Microstate

Dani Keral in on what might have been the first democratic territory in Europe (Spanish):

Couto Mixto was something incredible for its time, almost unexplainable. Formed by the towns of Meaus, Santiago and Rubiás [now located in the present-day municipalities of Calvos de Randín and Baltar], the territory of just 30 square kilometers began to be governed independently of both crowns.

In the Couto, no kings of feudal lords ruled, it was the townspeople themselves — the heads of the family — who elected a judge or political chief every three winters, who was assisted by three men from each village, os homes do acordo.

Check out the Wikipedia for more Couto Mixto in English.

Left Abroad #3: Podcasting Spanish Politics with Alan McGuire

I talked to British writer, teacher, podcaster, and fellow immigrant to Spain Alan McGuire last week about politics, books, and his own podcast Sobremesa.

There’s a dearth of in-depth information in written or podcast form in English about Spanish politics that doesn’t have the same tired tourism angle and I wanted to talk to him about how he came to Spain, his own political trajectory, and why he decided to start his project.

It ran a little long, but Alan and I have quite a bit in common. Thanks to Alan for taking the time to and to you for listening to Left Abroad. Please give us your honest review on Apple Podcasts if you get a chance.

Show Notes

Old Chinguetti’s Mosque

I only made it up to Chinguetti once or twice a year. This one of the old town’s mosque is from January 2016 when my mother-in-law came to visit. Our friend, a popular Mauritanian tour guide, organized a camping trip. It was also the first and only time we saw Ouadane. Unfortunately time never allowed us to go as far as Oualata.

Keyboard Fails

The Smart Keyboard for my tablet finally gave up a few days ago. For the last year, I had needed to reconnect it constantly, smash random buttons, or run a magnet over it to get it working. It’s a shame, I loved how thin it was.

I’m going to hold on to it for a few more months or perhaps still use it as a cover when I travel. But at home, I’m now using the Brydge II bluetooth keyboard. I bought this in Germany and initially really liked the way it made my iPad turn into a MacBook (friends would get confused when they reached for a trackpad and it wasn’t there). But there’s no place for the Pencil, a few of the keys feel unresponsive, and taking the tablet out to make it a tablet is a pain. Not wanting to buy any replacement, I’m managing with this and a busted Logitech mouse. It works well enough.