Category Archives: The Old And The New

Burgers, Beverages, Orgasms – Just Push The Button!

Toledo is not only blessed with thousands of years’ worth of culture, breathtaking views and the most horrid fountain in municipal water feature history, but it has now officially joined the ranks of elite cities, where all human desires can be satisfied in one garish vestibule at the click of a button. Move over Tokyo!

This is what popped up in the main shopping street in Toledo’s historic city centre a few months ago:

Pica y pica

A “shop” featuring no doors, no staff – just orange slot machines, ready and waiting to cater to your every whim. There’s even a tape recorded message welcoming you.

Pica y pica vending machines

Fancy a cow burger? A porky? A Hannibal?  Or perhaps an intergalactic orion? (I’m 99.9% certain that this is a typo and should have read “onion”)

Now, if someone could perhaps explain to me why anybody would want a soggy burger that’s been festering in a metal bio hazard box for three days, when there’s both a McDonald’s AND a Burger King just around the corner…? If only I could be bothered to loiter outside this dreary dispensary at 3 am, I’d probably get my answer…

As to the establishment’s name, “Pica y Pica”, the verb “picar”, in colloquial Spanish, means “to grab a bite” or “to nibble”. It also means “to itch” and/or “scratch”. Evidently, those in need of scratching a particular kind of itch are well served by this outlet:


Do the “diamonds” change colour, I wonder, the closer you get…?

Blow up doll

Never mind the furry cuffs. My attention was seized by Romping Rosy designed for men with a dwarf fetish. Any guesses as to whether she’s got hairy Hobbit extremities leading up to her “love passage”?

Easy Beat Love Egg

Another one for the boys to have a crack at. Or, rather, insert into same such.

Ah. NOW I understand the facial expression of the guy on the top left:

Vending Machine Enjoyment

It’s not just the potato chips that are stoking his bliss…

I think I’m ready for cake…



The Old And The New: Tolmo Museum, Toledo

The Tolmo Museum in Toledo, just three minutes walking distance from my house, opened its doors to the public in October 2013. I love the eclectic “chronological mix”, spanning two millennia: The building, a beautiful medieval church, houses a modern art exhibition and there’s remnants of Roman baths in the basement, which can also be viewed.

Part of the door frame (front portal).

Part of the door frame (front portal).

One of the exhibits

One of the exhibits

The Mysterious Bulls Of Guisando

It is a common misconception that culture and civilisation in Spain arrived with the Romans. This isn’t so. Artifacts predating the Roman era are abundant on the Iberian Peninsula. One example are the ubiquitous granite statues depicting cattle, boars, sheep and bears that litter the Castile and Leon region. What we don’t know for certain, however, is who made them, for what purpose, and when exactly.

On our trip to Salamanca last month, my friend Noelia, a self-professed history nut, took me on a little detour to show me the “The Bulls of Guisando”, located next to a lonely country road in the middle of nowhere, half-way between Toledo and Salamanca.

Noelia showing the ancient beast some lovin' ;-)

Noelia showing the ancient beast some lovin’ 😉

Bulls FrontBull

It is believed that a people called the Vettones, who were settled in this area in the 3rd Century BC, made these bulls, as well as thousands more animal statues, many of which survive to this day.

However, much of what has been written about these silent witnesses of an extinct culture is pure conjecture. In fact, the origins and meaning of the Bulls of Guisando are every bit as nebulous as those of the giant stone statues populating the Easter Islands.


The Old And The New: Abstract Iron Sculptures vs. Ancient Town Gates

A crop of newfangled metal sculptures has magically sprung up all over Toledo. Well informed about local cultural ongoings as always, I haven’t a clue where they came from, who made them, and how long they will be staying. It seems they’ve been strategically positioned to strike up an interesting contrast.

One of those rusty creatures in front of Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun), built in the 14th century

One of those rusty creatures in front of Puerta del Sol, built in the 14th century

Those twin turrets in the background, as you look through the centre of the 'ear', belong to the Puerta de Bisagra Nueva, built in 1559.

Those twin turrets in the background, as you look through the centre of the ‘ear’, belong to the Puerta de Bisagra Nueva, built in 1559.

Puerta de Bisagra

Behind this the sculpture isn't a beautiful old gate... far from it. This ugly concrete edifice houses escalators, a car park and a conference centre. Yes, Toledo needs all those things, but it surely didn't need this eyesore!

Behind this sculpture isn’t a beautiful old gate… far from it. This ugly concrete edifice houses escalators, a car park and a conference centre down below. Yes, Toledo needs all those things, but it surely didn’t need this eyesore!


A shot taken through the aforemaligned concrete structure, showing some of the city wall

Now, I do quite like the sculptures. I’m fond of smooth, curvy things, I can’t quite explain it.

If you want to see some modern ‘art’ in Toledo that’s so spectacularly bad it might scar your retinas, click here. Just remember that I warned you…

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