Monthly Archives: September 2013

One Yellow Balloon’s Lofty Long Life

The idea for this post came from Anna, who recently put up a pic of an escapee green balloon in a Moscow Metro station. It reminded me of the yellow balloon, which has been stuck to the ceiling of the chapel of San Juan de los Reyes Monastery here in Toledo for well over two years. (I’ve been living here for two years, and it’s been up there ever since.) I went down there today to take a couple of shots.

You see it, that tiny speck of yellow right up there to the left of the chandelier cable?

You see it, that tiny speck of yellow right up there to the left of the chandelier cable?

I'd always thought it was Tweetie, but now I think it's a Pikachu Pokem贸n...

I’d always thought it was Tweetie Pie, but now I think it’s a Pikachu Pokem贸n… (I had to look this up, lol)

It does seem to be slowly deflating… those Pokem贸n may be magical creatures, but what goes up must come down. Eventually 馃槈

The Weekly Don Quixote: Girls Want Bad Boys!

Doesn’t he already have enough hopeless quests on his plate…?!

Flamenco Dancer

DonQ: It is our knightly duty to rescue the poor, helpless damsel from these brutes!

SanchoP: Doesn’t look like she needs any rescuing… you see the way she’s eyeing up his helmet?

[To catch up on the Weekly Don Quixote series (and get the background on the escalating feud with the Templar Knights) click here]

Photo Challenge – Look Up, Look Down: Segovia and Toledo

The first shot is of Segovia’s historic town centre, taken LOOKING DOWN from the top of Segovia Castle. (That darn turret sure had a lot of stairs!!!)

Stork nest in the bottom left corner :)

Storks’ nest in the bottom left corner 馃檪

The second shot was taken at sunset in Santa Barbara, Toledo, LOOKING UP at the Monastery of San Juan De Los Reyes (left) and Puerta Del Cambr贸n (right).

Toledo at sunset

To connect with travelwithintent’s weekly Look Up, Look Down photo challenge, click here.

Cee’s Which Way? Challenge: Passageways, Light And Dark

For this week’s Which Way photo challenge, I’m offering two contrasting entries, taken at historic buildings in the Castilla La Mancha region of Spain:

Walkway in the Alc谩zar (Fortification) of Toledo

A sunny walkway located on the exterior wall of the Alc谩zar (Fortification) of Toledo

...and the entrance to a dingy dungeon inside Consuegra castle

The entrance of a dingy dungeon inside Consuegra castle

Street Snaps: Shopping For Undies

Besides looking a tad uncomfortable and itchy, I’m not convinced they would produce quite the same effect on my behind…

Pink PantsButt things could be a lot worse… at least I’m not quite ready yet for one of these:

A tent would be cheaper!!!

A tent would be cheaper!!!

Pics taken last Tuesday at Toledo’s weekly market. In Spain, these markets (“mercadillos”) are where people buy all sorts of day-to-day stuff聽 – underwear, socks, pots and pans, T-shirts, bags, shoes, snacks, hamsters, you name it. They tend to be cheaper than the shops.

70’s Flashbacks: First Flirtations

Digging ever further into the piles of old family photos this summer, there he was: Robert Spiegel, my first childhood crush! Our mothers were good friends, we lived in the same village, and so we saw quite a lot of each other when we were kids.

Here we are on a visit to Munich zoo:

Robert and I

See how hard I'm working it...?!

See how hard I’m working it…?!

I also found this photo, taken at a kindergarten carnival party:

I'm either a princess or a fairy... how original...

I’m either a princess or a fairy… how original…

The boy in the picture, Siegfried Terpoorten (‘Sigi’), was my second crush, after it had dawned on me that Robert, although quite sweet, wasn’t… well… the sharpest tool in the box.

Sigi was sharp witted and charismatic, even at that age. He oozed confidence, without being (overly) cocky, and enjoyed universal popularity. I’m not sure I had paid him all that much heed at the time the above picture was taken. We must have been around 6 years old in that shot. Three years later, though, he did something that left a lasting impression.

It happened during carnival season. The Village used to lay on a children’s costume party every year, held in the local community centre. The fest was in full swing, when Sigi swished through the doors, in a bright green chiffon dress, a wig with strawberry blonde pleats and painted-on freckles splattered across his nose.

The crowd, composed of 50% princesses and 50% cowboys/Indians (this was before the age of the superheroes), let out a communal gasp. Everyone took the piss, of course, but he didn’t seem to care in the least. In fact, he wore the same outfit again a couple of days later for our primary school’s carnival do.

I don’t remember which kid showed off with his or her first Gameboy, but I do remember this; in fact, it’s my first conscious memory of being seriously impressed by someone. That Sigi had balls, and not even a big girl’s blouse could dent his street cred.

With hindsight, I’d say it was his first public demonstration that he wasn’t going to comply with other people’s expectations, and that he had the perseverance to see things through. Sigi was meant to become an electrician, like his father, and take over the small family business. He played along for a time, and so, despite being clearly very bright, he ended up stuck at a school that catered for the lower strata of academic ability, affording him the minimum educational standard required for entering an electrician’s apprenticeship, which he did complete.


Sigi grown up

His real passion, though, had always been acting, and he was the shining star of local community and school theatre performances. Fiddling with wiring wasn’t going to do it for him in the long run, that much was obvious. So he went back to school, and even managed to get a scholarship to a prestigious acting school. Today, he’s a successful German TV, film and theatre actor, and lives, as far as I know, in Switzerland with his wife and children.

So then, any juicy stories about your first crushes…? Spill, people, spill!

Street Snaps: Fashion Faux Pas & Famous Musicians

So, yesterday, on a quest for my new Street Snaps project, I went stalking about the streets of Toledo armed with my wee camera. I was a bit apprehensive… taking pictures of people surreptitiously is a tad daunting. However, Toledo’s old town, where I live, is very touristy, with throngs of people from all over the world pointing their gadgets at everything, whether it stands still or moves. I was but a tiny fish in a great big shoal of snappers.

Woman and dog

As you can see, I was in good company… this one’s clearly a pro, fully equipped with a K-9 mobile unit in camouflage gear covering her back!

Middle aged couples’ clothes choices are often intriguing… in the 80’s, these two would probably have worn matching his ‘n’ hers outfits, but nowadays, they’re going for the full-on colour clash:

Clash couple

Colour Clash 2Well, it’s certainly a clever strategy if you don’t want to lose each other in a crowd…

And now onto the next delicate fashion issue that is (a certain kind of) Latin American Woman. Spain has a lot of residents originating from that part of the world, and they tend to be attired in a very particular way. It seems that the main objective, when getting dressed in the morning, is to squeeze their squat, waistless and rather ample bodies into the tightest sausage skin clothes they can find, while, at the same time, showing as much skin as possible.

As luck would have it, I found the perfect specimen yesterday:

And there's a clue in the picture as to how she's maintaining her physique. The dark roots after her 'blonde' experiment - a classic!

And there’s even a clue as to how she’s maintaining her vatwalk physique. She’s also just coming to the end of her ‘blonde’ experiment there – a total classic!

To give you a chance to recover from all of these style sins, I’ve got just the thing for you:

Ana AlcaideThis is the beautiful Ana Alcaide, one of Toledo’s treasures, out busking by the cathedral. She’s playing a traditional Swedish instrument called the nyckelharpa. Ana is quite a famous musician, and always draws a good crowd. You can put her name into YouTube if you want to know what her performances sound like.