Saturday, October 17, 2015

Day 17: Quevedo. It´s not a kind of cheese.

There are some things that Spain has that Canada doesn´t. Like roundabouts. And for good reason - with all the snow we get in winter, it would be piled up way too high to see oncoming traffic.
Roundabout. Rotonda. And when it´s in the city, glorieta. What a satisfying Spanish word. It´s got the soft g, it rolls, the penultimate syllable is stressed, it´s got the diminutive ending (not a gloria, a glori-eta). Glorieta. A much more attractive word than traffic circle. Yick.

In my neighbourhood, we´ve got a lot of glorietas, the closest being the Glorieta de Quevedo. You don´t have to look too far up to see Quevedo himself, who has been supervising the traffic from the center of the rotunda since 1902. This part of the city, today considered quite central, used to be on the outskirts of Madrid, on the road to France. I can´t get over how long that journey used to be. There also used to be a cemetery (nowhere in sight - ground space is a hot commodity in the metropolis).

Agustín Querol, de Kaulak.jpg
the dashing agustín querol.
Anyway, back to the statue of the Big Cheese - Quevedo, born in 1580, forms part of Spain´s rich literary legacy. A Baroque poet and satirist, much of his work is timeless. Take the poem Poderoso Caballero es Don Dinero. Translation: What a powerful man Mr Money is. Still true today. These are the types of people who should be on the citizenship exam, not footballers who build tax shelters and aren´t even Spanish nationals !

quevedo. a hipster before his time.
A past mayor of Madrid, Alberto Aguilera (I´m learning so much today - that´s the name of one of the main streets in our neighbourhood) commissioned Agustín Querol to create a statue of Quevedo. Kind of neat that their names both start with Que (which). The statue moved around the neighbourhood glorietas before finally coming to its current home in 1963. 

Quevedo, a biography to be memorized in my university days, has come alive for me. He lends his name to the glorieta, the metro station, and numerous cafés in the neighbourhood. I give him a nod as I pass by, and think, what a great name for some Spanish cheese...

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