While walking throughout Spain you cannot be spared viewing the economic hardship that the entire country is going through. You see it in the empty shops and Robert and I would see shops and even gas stations that had gone out of business.
In my discussions with people all along the Camino de Santiago I was told of and felt some of the pain that Spanish families are suffering as a result of the high unemployment rate in Spain. According to an article published in the Wall Street Journal (Spanish Unemployment Drops for First Time in Two Years, July 25, 2013) Spain’s,
jobless rate fell to 26.3% in the second quarter from 27.2% in the first, which was the highest rate since records began in 1976, Spain’s national statistics bureau INE said Thursday. Some 5.98 million people were unemployed in Spain in the second quarter.
The young have been especially hard hit by the recession with youth unemployment being reported as high as 56% (The Altantic, Europe’s Record Youth Unemployment: The Scariest Graph in the World Just Got Scarier, May 31, 2013) but this youth unemployment is different because never has there been a young workforce so well-educated (nearly 40% of Spain’s 20’s to 30’s year-olds are college educated).
The Wall Street Journal article goes on to say that,
the decline came in large measure because more people emigrated or stopped seeking work after a five-year crisis.
I heard of the many, many young sons and daughters that had emigrated in order to find work. Recently, I shared with you the story of the lady in Grañon whose son was coming to Atlanta to study and work. The following day both Robert and I encountered another story of this youth emigration.
It happened quite unexpectedly. At the Hotel Jacobeo in Belorado I asked for a restaurant recommendation and was given an unusual one. I was told to go to a Bar off the town square that was difficult to find. I do not remember the name of the Bar but at the time I had to ask directions from an elderly couple in order to find it. A gentleman overheard me asking for the directions and he kindly offered to take us there. As we walked we struct up a conversation and I told him where I was from and that Robert was from Australia. The gentleman was happy to hear that Robert was from Australia because he had a son working in the Mining industry there. He planned to visit his son soon.
I can’t help to feel for the families that have been separated from their sons and daughters because of the harsh economic climate that Spain (and a lot of Europe too) finds itself in. I know that these separations must be painful for those involved and I hope and pray that one day these families may be reunited.
As for the restaurant/bar it was an excellent meal with quite a local ambience. I’m going to email the woman at the hotel that gave me the recommendation and then write a review and post it soon on the blog!