Monthly Archives: June 2013

Sunset Sunday: Views From A Roof Terrace Restaurant

My friends Sara keeping the waitress occupied while her partner and I dart about for the best views

My friends Sara keeping the waitress occupied while her partner and I dart about for the best views

I had dinner with some friends last night at Hotel Carlos V in Toledo, where they recently opened a new roof terrace.

We got there at 9.30pm just as the sun was setting, and the inevitable happened: A photo frenzy 🙂

Carlos V Roof Terrace SunsetCarlos V Restaurant TerraceCarlos V Roof Terrace ViewCarlos V Roof Terrace Vista

The Old and The New: The Spiny Footbridge

I took these pics a couple of days from my friend Olga’s house. You can just about make out Toledo’s historic town centre in the back, then there’s a much newer part of town (Buenavista) in the middle, and the rather snazzy modern footbridge I have to cross to get to my friend’s place in the foreground.

At the end of that bridge, apart from excellent company, there’s a glorious pool waiting for me, which beats any pot of gold at this time of year 🙂

Buena Vista Bridge

Buena Vista Bridge

La Noche Toledana: Funky Lightshow At The Mosque Of Cristo De La Luz

Last Saturday, Toledo celebrated its annual Noche Toledana (= Toledanian/Toledanean/Toledan Night, … now if someone would please put me out of my misery and tell me the correct adjective!!!). Historical buildings, museums etc, open up  to the general public for the night, entry is free.

Incidentally, the original Noche Toledana featured a ‘celebration’ of quite a different kind. The historical event took place in the year 797, when Toledo, although officially under the rule of the Moors like the rest of Spain, enjoyed the status of an autonomous city. It was jointly governed by the resident Visigoths, Arabs, Hispanic Romans and Jews.

Alhakén I, who was the (Moorish) Governor of Spain at the time, didn’t much like this state of affairs. So, he laid on a ceremony to celebrate the appointment of his newly chosen Governor of Toledo, Amrú, inviting 400 guests carefully selected from Toledo’s ruling elite. During the banquet, he had their throats slit and tossed their heads into a mass grave he had ordered to be dug out earlier on.

The Spanish expression “to have/pass a noche Toledana”, which means to spend the entire night in a fraught state of sleeplessness, is still in common use today. It is certainly true that during the town’s annual Noche Toledana, nobody gets much sleep, there’s just too much great stuff to go and see 🙂

We started our expedition at the Mezquita De Cristo De La Luz (Mosque of the Christ of the Light), two minutes from my house. It is the only mosque that remains from Toledo’s Moorish period, built in 999. It was later turned into a (Christian) church. Virtually all of Toledos’ places of worship have gone through at least one denominational change over the passing centuries.

They lit up the mosque, inside and out, in different colours, and it was all very atmospheric.

Mezquita Blue


My picture editor is missing the ‘remove potbellied man’ button

Mezquita Red

Meqzuita purple

Mezquita interiorMezquita interiorMezquita InteriorMezquita Amarillo

MezquitaMezquita NaranjaMezquita Purply PinkMezquita BlueThere will be more from La Noche Toledana soon…

The Weekly Don Quixote: Heinous Slayer of Storks!

On my recent visit to Alcalá de Henares, aka Stork Central (see this post from a couple of days ago), I made a rather distressing discovery: Don Q is not in the least bit favourably disposed towards storks.

I present you with the blood-curdling evidence:

DonQ Stork SlayerIrrefutable, isn’t it? That poor bird is toast. I think I need my smelling salts.

A ghastly revelation this may be, but I plead with you to remember that this is the valorous Don Quixote we’re talking about. He needs our help to overcome his stork aversion disorder that blights his otherwise impeccably honourable character.

I suggest we all club together to buy him a lifetime membership for the SSA (Stork Spearers Anonymous).

[To view the complete Weekly Don Quixote series, click here.]

Rise Of The… Oliglot(!?)

A couple of days ago, I got thinking… what do you call people who are more than bilingual but who are not polyglots? (I’m basing this on the arbitrary premise that a polyglot should have a fairly good command of at least five languages.)

That'll give you something to chomp on...

That’ll give you something to chomp on…
I found him outside a shop in Madrid 🙂

It seems to me that there’s something missing between bilingual and polyglot, a gaping chasm of linguistic ability aching for its own moniker.

Methinks “oliglot” fits the bill.

I googled both “oliglot” and “oligoglot”, and… NOTHING came up. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nix. We simply don’t exist.

The search results hop straight to “polyglot”. I am totally baffled. Nobody’s searched for this before?? I mean, you start typing in “rainbow butterfly”, and “rainbow butt monkey” pops up as the third most searched-for term?

I looked up the spelling/construct rules, and it says if the prefix “oligo-” (which is comes from the Greek word for “few”) is to be followed by a vowel, the final “o” can be omitted. Hence, we have “oligarchs”, not “oligogarchs”.

So, technically, then, it should actually be “oligoglot” and not “oliglot”. However, I think that’s waaay too much of a mouthful, and seeing as I’m pioneering the term, I can darn well apply my own rules.

And yet… I have the unsettling feeling that I’m missing something really obvious… surely, I can’t be the first person in the world to be ruminating over this?!

Any insights from the ‘proper’ linguists out there? Or from anyone else who’d care to venture an opinion??

Worth starting my own movement…?