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

Dani Keral in Traveler.es 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 #1: Catching Up with Hussein Al-Deb’i in Central Portugal

Por fin! Hudy and I had a chance to catch up on the finca he and his wife Vanessa recently bought near Oleiros, Portugal. We talked about their honeymoon in Latin America, his background, their business Power Provida, and buying a 10-hectare estate in very rural Portugal. Thanks to Hudy for sitting down with me.

You can listen here directly until this feed becomes available in iTunes and Spotify.

Villa Alaricii

My folks are in town from California. After a few days in Porto and Aveiro, Portugal (also a first for me), we made it back home to Allariz yesterday. The weather has been typically rainy, but there are some dry spells where we enjoy the beautiful views. This one is close to the old castro, overlooking part of the town.

Tomorrow, I’m taking them on the train from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia, to see the Cathedral, where most of the pilgrims from all around Europe end their camino.