Ánimo, Galicia

A trending topic on Twitter has been the hashtag #ÁnimoGalicia, a way of trying to encourage and cheer up the people of Galicia, where a tragic train accident took the lives of 80 people on Wednesday. An American woman is among the dead.


I visited the city back in 2010, and—though it rained constantly—found the city charming, beautiful, and thoroughly enchanting. It was one of my first big trips with Mario. How did we get there? By train, of course. Train travel has always seemed to me to be so secure. I’ve never felt anxiety, as I often do when taking off or landing on a plane. And so to see the images and no longer feel so secure makes me feel unsteady.

This tragedy has affected so many, taken so many from our midst. There are 80 people who will never get to celebrate the fiestas in Santiago, kiss their children or wives or husbands or mothers or fathers, complain about the train being late again. And then there are the relatives: the brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, cousins, aunts, uncles, boyfriends, girlfriends … they are left to mourn. Spain, as a nation, is mourning.

But Spain has a reason to hope too. Even amidst all the corruption and unemployment doom and gloom, good can be found: people lining up at 2 a.m. to give blood, locals who climbed into mangled train cars to do anything they could before the rescue workers arrived, the firefighters who worked all night long, doctors on their days off who volunteered to work … there are countless stories like these.

Ánimo, Galicia.

13 thoughts on “Ánimo, Galicia

  1. Thanks for this post; the accident hit me really hard and things like this almost never do. It reminds me of something Mr. Rogers (of Neighborhood fame) once remarked that his mom said whenever disasters happened, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Galicia is no different. :)

  2. I saw the footage of the train derailing and immediately wished i hadn’t watched it. It upset me just as much as watching the two planes fly into the twin towers. It’s great to see that despite an economic crisis and several ongoing political scandals that has been dividing the nation, the Spanish people can still rally together and support one another when it is most important. I hear they’ve arrested the train operator and apparently he was known for being a speed demon? A ver…

    1. Yes, it’s all so very tragic. I can’t watch that video too much, and I’ve been reading some of the deceased’s profiles, and every time I start crying. I was much too young to read and understand 9/11, I think now I feel more vulnerable and not so invincible, so it hits harder. Hope that my rambling makes sense to you!

  3. It’s amazing how close many of us expats feel to Galicia, even if we’ve only spent weekends in and around Santiago. That must be testament to its wonderful character, and although enormously tragic, I do believe good will come from this – and the examples of others helping others (laid off medical workers showing up anyhow, etc.) is just a glimmer of the kind of change that the whole country needs and can take example from.

  4. So tragic and it affected me a bit (my mother who has never set foot in Spain was also affected) especially after watching the footage. I never traveled to Galicia but my heart is with all the people in that province. I have to admit if I ever return to Spain, I won’t feel so secure riding the train (but just like people got on airplanes after a major crash, I might just suck it up and go on with it). During my time in Spain, I had only ridden the train once and that was my first day in country; I rode buses for other few trips I took.

  5. please, Spain’s high speed train system has got a well earned reputation around the world, in fact Spanish companies will build the high speed train between the cities of La Meca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

    also, there have been talks between Spain and the USA to build a train between San Francisco and Los Angeles, or Boston and New York….only talks, but they show the well earned reputation our system has got.

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