Category Archives: Don Quixote

The Weekly Don Quixote: Even Refined Knights Occasionally Take The Bus

Just imagine my surprise yesterday morning when I sprung the Noble Knight in the most unglamorous place imaginable: the local bus shelter. What on Earth was he doing in there, wedged between the timetable and dried-up spit stains?

Was he just momentarily resting his weary bones on the dinted metal bench, I wondered, before getting back on his trusty steed to commence an honest day’s work dedicated to protecting the honour of young maidens like myself…?

DonQ Bus Shelter

But such high-end moral pursuits seemed not to have ruled his agenda that morning. As soon as the No.62 pulled up, he hopped on, and off he went in direction Luz Del Tajo shopping centre.

DonQ on Bus

Rocinante must have been getting his hooves manicured that morning, and SanchoP was nowhere to be seen…

[For the other posts in The Weekly Don Quixote series, click here.]

The Weekly Don Quixote: A Shopping Spree On The Moon!

Many moons ago, when I was a student, I worked in a pharmacy on Finchley Road near Swiss Cottage in London. My co-worker Gaspar, whose family was from Goa, used to joke that Indians were to be found absolutely everywhere, even on the moon.

Well, it looks like they are in very good company up there! My lovely intercambio Raquel sent me this publicity poster last week, announcing Ciudad Real’s annual La Noche Blanca festival:

It's a publicity poster for an annual festival.  Note that our two heroes are laden with shopping bags... anything to stimulate the lunar economy!

Note that our two heroes are laden with shopping bags… anything to stimulate the lunar economy!

I’ve never been to Ciudad Real, although it’s not all that far from Toledo. By virtue of being situated in the Castilla-La Mancha region, the town maxes its Don Quixote connection at any given opportunity.

Ciudad Real hit the headlines in the past with its infamous Don Quixote International Airport, which cost €1.1 billion to build, filed for bankruptcy within months after opening and finally closed its doors in 2012. It only ever managed to attract the interest of a single low-cost airline. The city, with a population of around 75,000, is way too small to support an airport, and it’s not exactly a tourist destination (everybody I’ve spoken to says it’s ugly).

Don Quixote Airport is frequently paraded as Spain’s number one example of the many misguided investments, which pushed the country over the edge into its ever-deepening economic crisis.

And although the Honourable Knight is utterly blameless when it comes to ill-fated modern-day investment decisions, there’s more than just a hint of irony in him lending his name to a venture, which not only failed so spectacularly, but which was doomed from the very beginning.

[For the other posts in the Weekly Don Quixote series, click here.]

The Weekly Don Quixote: The Entire Saga In One Mural

We’re back once more in the town of Alcalá de Henares, where Cervantes was born, and where our two compañeros DonQ and SanchoP not only lay claim to their own bench for resting their weary bones, but they’ve also taken possession of an entire wall!

DonQ MuralAnd here is the bottom part, which was half-obscured by the inopportune passing of that pesky green car:

Mural: Alcala De HenaresSanchoPDonQ

For the other posts in the Weekly Don Quixote series, click here.

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.]

The Weekly Don Quixote: Canoodling With Me(!) On A Bench

Yesterday was a very exciting day for me. My friend Maria and I went to Alcalá de Henares where, as you may remember from the very first post in this series, Miguel De Cervantes was born. It’s about an hour’s drive from Toledo.

And as you can imagine, the intrepid knight is as big a celebrity (if not bigger!) in Alcalá as he is in Toledo. The town is littered with statues of his genius creator.

Cervantes in Alcala de Henares

Statue of Cervantes in a local park

The house, where Cervantes was born, has been turned into a museum. Entry is free! And right outside the gate, I discovered, to my great delight, that DonQ and Sancho P. have taken up the national sport religiously practiced by all the country’s males in their mature years: congregating on public benches, gossipping and watching the world go by. How could I resist from joining them?!?

DonQ Bench

Delighted me! Cervantes’s Birth House in the background

I remain utterly star struck as I hit the “publish” button… it’ll take  me a while to recover from this unexpected in-the-bronze encounter, I can tell you.

There will be more from Alcalá de Henares, as soon as I get my act together 🙂

[To see all posts in the Weekly Don Quixote series, click here]

The Weekly Don Quixote: In Need Of A Lick Of Paint?

From the previous weeks’ reports on DonQ’s moonlighting activities, you may be under the impression that our intrepid nobleman augments his paltry knight’s salary by merely sitting or standing about decoratively.

Not so!

Here he is, by a children’s playground in Santa Teresa (Toledo), wielding a … paint roller!

He’s not got round to acquiring one of those stylish white vans yet, which every bona fide Painter & Decorator worth his salt should be pulling up in.

I guess Rocinante will make himself useful by fertilising your garden while DonQ and his pudgy helper attack your peeling walls. Although you may want to consider getting yourself some Beirut edition metal shutters to keep your windows in one piece…

DonQ Painter DecoratorFor the other posts in the Weekly Don Quixote series, click here.

The Weekly Don Quixote: Bouncer At A Posh Hotel

A pinched skinniness may be one of his most recognisable physical attributes, but I think he cuts a suitably authoritative figure here, earning his crust monitoring the comings and goings at one of Toledo’s most traditional hotels. (And one of the few that is actually situated inside the old town – the narrow streets weren’t built for buses…)

Just don’t cough in his direction as you amble past him with your suitcases in tow. He might go to pieces and lampoon your smalls on his way down.

Don Q Guarding Hotel

A mere sliver of a man... but with plenty of character to copensate

A mere sliver of a man… but with plenty of character to compensate

For the other posts in the Weekly Don Quixote series, click here.

The Weekly Don Quixote: The Noble Knight – Outed As Gainfully Employed!

Who’d have thought it… it’s not just bare breasted Pirate Queens who have a little menu card side line going…

Don't touch me I'm working!

“Don’t touch me, I’m working”

…and, as we shall discover over the coming weeks, DonQ keeps up an astounding array of part-time occupations. If you thought your life was impossibly busy, you may want to take a leaf out of his book.

For other posts in the Weekly Don Quixote series, click here

The Weekly Don Quixote – Meet The Wicked Windmills!

Last Sunday, Maria and I took a trip to Don Quixote’s infamous public enemy number one: The Windmills. Before moving to Spain, I assumed Cervantes had just made them up, but the ‘ferocious giants’ his anti-hero battled against really do exist, and they are none the worse for wear!

Said windmills can be found not far from Toledo, about a half hour drive away, stuck on a hill by a small town called Consuegra. The town itself… erm… how to put this delicately… has not much to commend it, but this set of ancient pre-industrial buildings was definitely worth the trip. Each one of them even has a name.

Consuegra Windmills

Windmill

As a backdrop, Consuegra has its merits...

As a backdrop, Consuegra has its merits…

Maria taking a break

Maria taking a break. We were in our winter coats – in the middle of May! And it was very windy, as you’d expect…
The sign on the right-hand side of the door is the windmill’s name plate

WindmillsFor the other posts in the Weekly Don Quixote series, click here.

The Weekly Don Quixote – Performs A Vanishing Act ‘Á La Toledo’

Here he is, trying to clamber over the wall in an attempt to help Sancho Panza, who's being bounced around on a table cloth. Just don't ask me which chapter of the novel corresponds with that scene...!

Here he is, our hero, trying to clamber over the wall in an attempt to come to the aid of Sancho Panza, who looks none too happy being bounced around on a table cloth. Just don’t ask me which chapter of the novel corresponds with that scene…!

It’s a tile mural, and the photo is crap 😦  And there is a reason… sigh.

I stumbled across this by chance a few weeks ago, and took a picture, not knowing whether I was ever going to use it for anything. As you can see, the left-hand-side was being hit by the mid-day sun at the time, with the other half in the shade – impossible to fix, unless you have a PhD in Photoshop. And I can barely hit the snap button on my teensy camera while holding the blasted thing steady at the same time.

A couple of days ago, I tried to return to the spot to take another pic in better light conditions, but… it wasn’t there! OK, the mural is still *somewhere* out there – no more than ten minutes’ walk from my house, in fact – but it’s not where I thought it was.

That is what happens all the time in the old town. When I first moved here, a friend (who had also just arrived) and I used to joke about Toledo’s “disappearing shops”, how they were there one morning, and gone the next, when you needed to buy something, because you’d taken the wrong turn. Yet again. My Teutonic punctuality-pathfinder programming is in perpetual melt-down mode.

After a year and a half, I thought I’d finally cracked it… only to get caught out again by bloody Don Quixote. Ahrgh.

Here’s the link to The Weekly Don Quixote series.

Ceramics, and, in particular, tile making, is a traditional Spanish craft. Here are a handful of pictures I took of the stunningly beautiful Museo De Santa Cruz, which is well-stocked with ceramics and whose walls feature many impressive tile murals.