I am still reading Roads to Santiago by Cees Nooteboom - and wonderful it still is. I am reading each chapter twice as it is so enthralling.
Yesterday I read a chapter on the medieval city of Trujillo - a small, intimate place with only ten thousand or so inhabitants. The town square is totally dominated by a statue of Pizarro, who went to Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia with a force of 130 men, 40 cavalry and 2 small cannons - and by subterfuge and clever warfare managed to totally wipe out the complete Inca civilisation, laying it in ruins.
What came back to Spain of course was untold wealth in the form of gold, silver and jewels - and the men who returned (Pizarro was not among them and his leathery corpse is still visible in Peru!) were rewarded with being made Counts, Dukes, Knights and the like - and having enough money to build grand castles in places like Trujillo. These palaces now lie in ruins, or have been taken over by monasteries or somesuch. And tourists passing the statue of Pizarro hardly glance in his direction. How are the mighty fallen and all that?
A few years ago, walking in the Extramadura wih Ramblers' Holidays, we spent a day in Trujillo, wandering amongst the buildings and if my memory serves me right, eating a delicious omelette in the town square.
At the end of the day we were supposed to return to the Coach Park and the Tourist Coach to take us to a hotel for the night. There were so many roads leading off the square that the farmer and I had quite forgotten which one led to the Park - and the time for meeting was drawing near.
A handsome Spaniard emerged from an office building and made his way towards his car. I approached him and asked if he spoke English - he didn't. I managed to indicate that I wanted to know where the Coach Park was. He opened the rear door of his car, ushered us in and sped down one particular road. Two minutes later he let us out at the Coach and sped off before we even had time to really thank him. Now I shall remember him far more than I shall remember Pizarro!