Those of you who read last year’s April in France blog will remember that Tom is a four-year-old in spirit. For example, every time a train goes by our Girona apartment, he points at it and yells “TRAIN!” If he’s really lucky it will be a “CAR TRAIN!” saddled with Seats.
But he has another great passion, and that is radio. Some of you remember that he was once “Major Tom,” KUGN’s low-flying traffic-reporter/pilot in Eugene, Oregon. He also was once a classical music DJ and knows how to say Tchaikovsky and even Handel.
He also loves ancient ruins, so when he lured me way uphill on our first major hike the other day, I was sure he was eager to visit that ancient fort, the Torre de Alfonso XII, which we can see from our balcony. What a romantic sense of history the man has!
Soon enough, we were gasping atop Girona’s highest hill, jaws dropped from both the panting and the view (panorama at the top of this post). The old fort now houses the city’s drinking water facility and was all fenced and untouchable, and worse yet, not even old. It dates back to the 19th century, though built on a spot that saw its first fort in 1675.
The morning was still young. I should not have been surprised that what Tom really wanted out of that hike was to walk another half mile south to the magnificent Jetsons-style radio tower (as tall as the Washington Monument, built for the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics), connected to cables and dishes and all manner of electronic hardware. He’d been gazing at it for ten days from our terrace.
Tromping past rustic farms with vicious roosters and mysterious weeds, we finally reached a gorgeous old ruined house with a teeny guard house punctuated with arrow slits.
Tom turned his back on this glorious ancient pile and took a million photos of the radio tower, also surrounded by fences, electric gates, barbed wire, and warning signs. Unfortunately tours were not being offered. “There’s a lot of POWER here!” he said, sounding almost woo-woo, but not.
Finally I dragged him away and found him another favorite thing — a beer. Sitting in the plaza, we watched tourists kiss the bottom of the ancient Girona lioness to ensure that they’d come back to town. Of course Tom kissed it too. There’s no such thing as a four-year-old germophobe.
Damn, they are much more liberal in Spain. You could never kiss that statue here in the good ol’ USA
We love the word “tromping” by the way.
In Spain they even allow people-kissing. Lots of it.
Did you wear your tin foil hats when you visited that tower. No? Oh great.. Now you will be controlled by aliens forever. That’s what the 4 year old in me says, anyway.
Anita Blanchard said:
I didn’t know about the piloting or DJ ing. Wasn’t Major Tom (humor and creativity with the title) also a newspaper man? More surprises in blogs to come? This was a fine outing on what looks to be a lovely day. Thanks for sharing the day and the photos.
Louise, Great post! I just love this little peek into Tom’s past – how fascinating! I wonder if Major Tom was in operation when we lived in Eugene in 2000? It sounds like you two are having a blast! Enjoy! ~Terri
What a treat to follow your adventures discovering old towers in Girona :
It beats the Alliance fundraising dinner at the MAC last night with French can-can girls who danced for barely 3 minutes .
Why did Tom kiss the cross ? I missed that.
I’m sorry it’s not a cross, it looks like some kind of giant worm made of stone.
What is the story behind the custom to kiss this slug and ensure you’ll be back in Girona ?