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:
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.]