Friday, February 15, 2013

I seem to recall that the previous time I visited Toledo, maybe 6 years ago, it presented itself as an ex-Visigoth capital, rather than as a primarily (ex)centre of Jewish culture. Anyway, there still is a museum in honour of the Germanic invaders. The first folk(volk?) to control the entire peninsula, I seem to recall. By the way, the appropriate term for Toledo's change of tack is probably chutzpah.

Another feature of the city – possibly a reflection of either the season or La Crisis – is the array of sad-looking shopkeepers, standing in doorways and scanning the horizon for the customers with whom you don't want to be fighting for space in the narrow streets during the high season. The other advantage of visiting Toledo outside summer is that menús del día are as low as 5 euros. Though I hate to think what you get for that. Especially as wine is included.

Impressively, Toledo has buses that run on natural gas. And an airport. Though no planes that I could discern. Castellón Dos?

Driving from Toledo to Malaga, you inevitably pass a 'club' called La Dulcinea. Quite soon after that you come upon another 2 or 3 'clubs'. Which prompted me to ask what the collective noun for brothels might be. I've come up with a few ideas – see tomorrow – but suggestions are welcome. There'll be a prize for the best, of course. Honest. Come on, Alfie. For those younger readers who've never been taught what a 'noun' is, it's “A word used as the name of a thing or person.” There you go. You're all set now.

And between Granada and Jaen you pass hillsides covered with properties that look as empty as those south west of Madrid. As someone has said, it's likely that some of these will never be sold.

Like every place in Spain, it seems, Nerja has its beggars. Of course, it's sometimes a tad difficult to tell them from the Brits. Some of whom clearly think it's OK to wear a back-to-front baseball cap despite their advanced age. Perhaps they're visiting Americans, the only people who could wrest the Worst Dressed accolade from the British.

Which reminds me . . . While looking for my sister in Malaga airport, I almost bumped into a guy who was clearly one of the 4 or 5 homeless/stateless men reported to live there. Like upmarket bagmen, as they have a trolley each. Quite eery. For a second, I felt I was in a movie.

This is the phone conversation I had with my sister at the airport:-
Hi. Have you arrived?
Yes, half an hour ago. Despite the fact you gave me the wrong time. I've just come back to the car to get my phone. Where are you?
In a café.
Where exactly? I've looked in them all.
It's outside, near the taxi rank.
Which floor are you on? Arrivals or Departures?
No idea. Hang on, I'll ask this man next to me to tell you.
            [Excuse me. Can you talk to my brother and tell him exactly where we are? He speaks Spanish]
Hola, etc. etc.
OK. I know where you are now. See you in 5 minutes. [Thinking: If the guy could understand her request in English, why does she think it's relevant I speak Spanish?]

Finally . . . When Jacob Epstein was making a bust of the craggy British politician, Ernest Bevin, he was asked how he went about this challenge. He replied: “I take a lump of marble and then I chip off everything that doesn't look like him”.

10 comments:

Alfred B. Mittington said...


Well, 'Brothelhood of Men' suggests itself rather strongly. Alternatively, I would go for the good old Dead Languages are use 'Lupanarianae'.

And speaking of Latin: the first foreigners to control all of the Peninsula were of course the Romans. And in German, 'nation' is written 'Volk' with a capital V.

Al 'Multitongue' Mittington

Colin said...

Thanks, Alfie.

But while we're talking capitals. . . . Why Men, Peninsula, Dead Languages and Lupanarianae.

Probably 'butter' takes a capital in German. It's over-fond of them. As I noticed in Hamburg.

Do you have Germanic blood, by any chance?

James Atkinson said...

I may have misremembered this, to use a Bushism, but didn't Borrow in "With The Bible to Spain" refer to the Visigoths as still being around, and working as Carters, transporting goods around the country? Sounds highly suspect to me, but her clearly believed it.
I would have thought they had mixed with the mass of the population long before then.

Alfred B. Mittington said...


Dear Colin,

My ancestors were a restless lot, so yes: I have germanic and slavic and nordic and even semitic blood in my rich veins... Which is why my linguistic qualities are innumerable and incomparable...

Why the capitals? Because I like to highlight important words some way. A harmless personal habit. By the by: it is usual to write 'the Peninsula' with a capital, when the Iberian Peninsula is specifically meant.

In German, EVERY noun is always written with a capital. Rule of the lingo. A strange and needless rule, but such is life, and such are the Germans...

Dear James: you are thinking of Borrow's rather odd explanation of the origin of the Astorga Maragatos (Bible in Spain, chapter 23). However, his etymology 'Moorish Goths' is really too silly to be true - even if it is not the silliest that is proposed. As for where the Visigoths went to: they became the Old Christians of Castile, mixing and mingling freely with the rest of the tribes....

Perry said...

Colin,

An embarassment of brothels would be apt in RC Spain. I wonder if there is one in the vatican?

Colin said...

Just one????? Five more have opened since altar boys were banned from the premises.

Perry said...

If there were even one, would it be called a singularity, behind which a pope admonished S. Hawking not to look.

Not to lift the veil, in a nunnery, so to speak.

Lucy Watson said...

Hassle free airport pickups aren't your strong point, are they Colin?

Colin said...

Ooh, that hurt.

But at least I was early this time, despite having been given the wrong time, an hour later.

Didn't use my satnav this time. Or not until we hit the centre of Malaga, as Almería isn't signposted out of the airport. Only Malaga, Sevilla and Antiquera. The latter two not being along the coast but inland. So I took the fallback option and the satnav finally got me out, having screamed at me several times. RE-CALC-U-LATING. Fortunately, I had my sister to blame.

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