The baldie is fled, long live the baldie!

The business (basically a CRM database) passed into better hands in 2012. These materials remain here for cannibalisation and amusement.

The baldie meanwhile has found pastures new: as a singing organ-grinder for your event in the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands or Spain!

 
FollowTheBaldie.com: Town and country walking and study tours in Barcelona and the Western Med
  • Cruise & weekend favourites
    • in 4 hours without feeling like a stupid tourist.
  • Theme browser
  • Fiesta finder
  • Why FollowTheBaldie?
    • Language All our guides are native English speakers and speak the local language fluently.
    • Knowledge Our local and subject knowledge is profound and up-to-date.
    • Interactivity See someone interesting? We'll interpret. Tired/full of energy? We can adapt the programme.
    • Individuality We don't do herd tourism. No silly flags. No headsets.
    • Responsibility Unlike most "green" tour businesses, we only use public transport--cheaper and generally more interesting.

Walking from Barcelona to Madrid

Featuring sunstruck indignados, the Spanish postal service, ancient trade routes, the march of 30 blind lottery vendors, and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V's wife's shocking case of toothache.

Posted by admin on Monday June 27th 2011. 2 comments

The crusaders before Jerusalem, Schultheiss, after Wilhelm von Kaulbach. CC Wikipedia. More.

Some of Barcelona's Plaza de Cataluña 15M indignados have set out on foot for Madrid, accompanied by Walter and his version of the Rinky-Dink Mobile Bicycle-Powered Sound System. Their aim is to arrive at the Puerta del Sol in time for a demonstration on July 23, and their route plan suggests that they're planning to achieve this by walking 545 km in 29 days. Google Maps says it's rather more, at 614 km, but whether their daily average is 18.79 or 21.17 km, with no days off there'll be some sore heads and feet on those unshaded roads now that temperatures are projected to reach 40ºC.

The Puerta del Sol is of course the traditional lair of the Spanish postal dragon, whence official routes were imagined in 1720 and distances officially measured starting in 1857. All these radial marches converging on it have done nothing to calm the Bourbonoias of Catalan nationalists, who already saw the predominance of Spanish, Barcelona's lingua franca, in the Barcelona protest as evidence of a centralist plot, forgetting that Catalan only prevails in what they like to call "civil society" because participation is contingent on subsidies and subsidies are contingent on linguistic practice.

These fears should (but probably won't) be mollified by the fact that, rather than following the imperial post routes, which averted encounters with highwaymen, hunger and the nastier bits of nature, the marchers are taking a short cut across Lower Aragon. 200 years ago, according to Bernardo Espinalt y García's Dirección general de cartas en forma de diccionario: para escribir a todas las ciudades... de toda España para mayor facilidad del comercio, y correspondencia pública de sus naturales y estrangeros (1835), their return journey would have looked like this:

to...

Spanish leagues
Torrejón de Ardoz

4.0
Venta de Meco

3.5
Guadalajara

3.5
Torija

3.0
Gajanejos

3.0
Almadrones

2.5
Torremocha

3.0
Bujarrabal

2.5
Lodares

2.5
Arcos de Jalón

2.5
Monreal de Ariza

3.0
Cetina

2.0
Bubierca

2.0
Ateca

2.0
Calatayud

2.0
El Frasno

3.0
La Almunia de Doña Godina

3.0
La Romera

3.0
Muela

2.0
Garrapinillos

2.0
Zaragoza

2.0
La Puebla de Alfindén

3.0
Osera de Ebro

3.0
Venta de Santa Lucia

3.0
Bujaraloz

3.0
Candasnos

3.0
Venta de Banrs (?)

2.0
Fraga

2.0
Alcarràs

3.0
Lleida

2.0
Bell-Lloc d'Urgell

2.5
Golmés

2.5
Vilagrassa

2.5
Cervera

2.5
La Panadella

2.5
Gancho (? Ganxo/Gantxo)

2.5
Igualada

2.0
Castellolí

2.5
Collbató

2.5
Martorell

2.0
Sant Feliu de Llobregat

3.0
Barcelona

2.0
total

109.0

Such routes are of course far older than Philip V or postmen - see for example Pedro Juan Villuga's 1546 compilation, where the centre of gravity is Toledo, the old capital. Assuming we're measuring using the legua real (Spanish metrology was quite chaotic until quite recently), Espinalt y García's version would have taken a whopping 728.88 km, but his long and cranky predecessor of the modern, straightened motorway would at least have given marchers the opportunity to attempt to proselytise a doubting public in bars along the way - wasn't that what the Jarrow Crusade was all about? Instead, rather like modern politicians in need of democratic renewal, they will travel with a support team through the arenous wastes of Teruel and Guadalajara, and we will have to learn of their progress and pronouncements from TV and internet broadcasts.

That rather lonely set-up worries me: could it be that what they have in mind is the mythologised unifying function of Mao's not-so Long March into desolation in the creation of the Chineses dictatorship, or some other foreign folly, rather than great Spanish pilgrimages of our somewhat over-extended late-medieval age? Ah! for the march from Málaga to Madrid in 1982 of 30 blind lottery ticket vendors unhappy with their contractual arrangements, all of whom survived, or the departure in June 1533 for Montserrat of more than 2,000 citizens of Barcelona, many forswearing footwear, by which they hoped to cure the wife of Charles I of Spain of a dreadful case of toothache.

Background from Wikipedia:
  • Houston?

RSS: post comments, blog comments, blog posts

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

  1. Náiguel Puig i Clot says:

    Yes, it is a fine climatological conjuncture to test the true mettle of the Gravy Train Revolution.

  2. Mr Baldie says:

    33ºC in Teruel capital at the moment. Uf.


Legal · Sitemap · Song · Cartoon · © 2004-19 · Guide login
Note for travel agents
Sample tours