In Chapter 25 of my book, Savoring the Camino de Santiago, I included an open letter which I had directed to three Spanish ministries about issues related to the Camino that I thought about as I walked the Camino. As I explained in my book, I drafted the letter, put it aside, thought about it more, showed it to my writing critique group, thought about it some more, put it aside again, and finally decided to mail it in October 2019. In my letter, I informed the recipients that I would post any reply on this blog.
The first difficulty I had in mailing the letter was determining the best government office to which to send the letter. The Spanish Consulate here in Houston was unable to direct me to the Spanish federal office responsible for the Camino, so in the end I addressed the letter to the three ministries that seemed most relevant to Camino-related issues: the Ministry of Culture and Sport; the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism; and the Ministry of Development.
My letter was sent on October 23, 2019. Amazingly–at least to my way of thinking, given the time it takes for international letters to transit, not to mention the time necessary to clear any response up the ranks of a bureaucracy–I had a reply within a month. Very responsive, indeed, I thought, as I opened the letter.
Here is my informal translation, with the original below. I’ll add some commentary at the end.
A very nice letter, right? The words are all kind, and the text shows that my letter is being taken seriously and handled expeditiously. But what does the letter really say, in response to my suggestions? Basically, nothing. The letter is what, in my government days, we would call “an interim reply.” It’s a reply just to let the recipient know that the in-coming letter has been received and transferred to the appropriate office for action. Still, given my worries that my letter to the three ministries would hit the trashcan as soon as it was opened, I am relieved.
Bottom line: one interim letter from one of three ministries to which the original letter was directed. Will there be another letter? I’d have to wait and see. Please, as they used to say, stay tuned.