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Statue of Wilfred the Hairy

They say that Anthony Weiner is likely to announce his candidacy for Mayor of New York City next week. Could anything be more bizarre? Yes, of course: they could elect him.

So this post is about the bizarre. Take Besalú, for example. Besalú is a Middle-Ages city located on the Fluvià River, about a forty-five-minute bus ride north of Girona. The place is so meticulously built (no blueprints; think men with chisels) and maintained that it was declared a “conjunt històric-artístic” (historic district) in 1966. Under such protection, it’s swept and polished like the cherished jewel it is, and it made for a joyous day-trip today, my first outing since coming home from the hospital.

But back to the bizarre. In the Ninth Century AD, the Mayor of Besalú (they were “counts” back then) was Wilfred the Hairy. (“…he was hairy in places not normally so in men…” according to the Gesta comitum barcinonensium – “Deeds of the Counts of Barcelona” – which, being transcribed by monks, was unable to run mirrored self-portraits, so the hirsute places in question will remain perpetually … in question). Wilfred pretty much unified Catalonia, and as such, is greatly respected here today. Whereas Anthony-Weiner jokes abound in American culture, one does not tease a Catalonian about Wilfred the Hairy (nor about any of the other Carolingian monarchs: Charles the Fat, Louis the Stammerer, or Louis’s son, Charles the Simple. Thank God Charles the Simple didn’t have a cell phone. Or a mirror.)

OK. I’ve had my little fun with the Weiners and the counts. This is a travel blog, and when it comes to travel, there aren’t many places that capture the pride of history as well as Besalú. As evidence, the following gallery:

(Top of the post: photo of the Statue of Wilfred the Hairy at the Plaza de Oriente in Madrid. Sculpted in white stone by Luis Salvador Carmona between 1750 and 1753. Credit: Wikimedia Commons. And you thought I was making this stuff up.)