Good or Bad for the Jews

"Good or Bad for the Jews"

Many years ago, and for many years, I would travel to Morocco to visit uncles, cousins, and my paternal grandmother. Some lived in Tangiers;...

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Valley of the Fallen & Toledo

We drove to Franco's massive monument to himself and his victory in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39. The "Valley of the Fallen" sits a few miles outside of Madrid next to the city of El Escorial; I hadn't visited there in some 40 years, and it appeared different from what I remembered. 

The thing is massive; you can look it up on the internet and YouTube, but pictures, video, and written descriptions don't give justice to its size. In the middle of a national park, full of deer and wild boar, it occupies a beautiful chunk of real estate. It took some ten years to build, using, among others, the forced labor of thousands of political prisoners, including at least one of my relatives. Franco himself officially inaugurated the monument in 1959; the Pope blessed it the following year. When he died in 1975, Franco was buried in the enormous crypt there. 

I, however, can confirm for my six readers that Franco has left the building. 

After years of contentious political and social debate over whether to tear down the whole thing, the compromise reached a couple of years ago was to move the body of the Generalisimo from the crypt to a military cemetery. Interestingly, the body of Spanish fascism's founder, Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, remains. While tearing down the whole monument and its many buildings would have proven fantastically costly, various leftist governments over the years, however, apparently have decided to starve the place. According to a curator at the religious retreat/hotel/restaurant there, the Ministry of Culture steadily has reduced the Valley's budget, and some features, such as the cable car to the top of mountain upon which sits an enormous cross, have been allowed to fall into disrepair and closed "temporarily" for several years. The retreat's massive library also shows signs of failing maintenance, e.g., water stains, mold.

The whole place was spookily empty. It looked like the set of a post-apocalypse film; a few Dutch tourists taking selfies, but not many others. The vast parking lots were empty.  Despite all that, it's definitely worth a visit. If nothing else, it will make you think of Ozymandias

After that visit, we went off to El Escorial and had what I think is the best steak I have ever had at a wonderful restaurant, El Charoles. Hard to find. My GPS kept sending us in circles, but worth it. Go there. 

Couple of days later we took the train (masks required) to Toledo, named after a place in Ohio, I think. Might be wrong. It's a great place, and despite all the tourists, the residents are very friendly, and the city retains its medieval charm. We found the modest synagogue where my ancestors prayed over 500 years ago; it was closed. The spectacular cathedral where my wife's ancestors prayed, however, that, that was OPEN--anti-semitism, of course. The cathedral is beyond beautiful. You could spend the whole day in there and not run out of things to see. Also bought a heavy chess set which proved devastating for my back. I could hardly walk after trying to swing the thing over my shoulder. The much more fit Diplowife had to lug the monster around as we walked up and down hilly streets. I followed slowly and painfully. She has made me swear to collect something other than chess sets. Besides Toledo, she has carried them for me in Mexico City, Guatemala City, Hong Kong, Lima, La Paz, Bangkok, New Delhi, and Jakarta. No more!

I have nothing wise to say about the political insanity back home. As my oldest son said to me on the phone yesterday, "The crazy Democrats have chosen abortion as the hill to die on." Complete insanity and deliberate malice characterize the Dems on Roe v Wade. Let'em die on that hill.

Taking the train (masks required) today to San Sebastian where my wife has a variety of legal issues to handle re the estates of her late mother and her aunt. I intend to handle the food. Perhaps the best food in all of Spain, which already has the best food in the world. 

More later.


  1. Dammit, DiploMad! You were in Toledo and didn't visit the Alcazar?

    1. He and She can only lug that chess set so far you know.

    2. "Dammit Dip...! You were inToledo & didn't visit the Alcazar?"

      Not to worry gents, In 1888 Henry Flagler built just such an 'Alcazarian' extravegance down in the Oldest City in the USA! San Augustin...founded in 1565 by a Spanish soldier, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, who chose the name when he 1st spotted the site Aug 28, the feast day of St. Augustine.

      I'm sure the present Governor, Ron DeSantis, will be delighted to hear that such a distinguished, "America First" Patriot, & his Dipsalot Pals may just drop in, down there, to say, Hey!
      Btw amigos, I've been trying to think of a worthy tune or soundtrack to Go w/Senor Dip's "Ode of Return" to his, Ancient Roots~~~
      I'm kinda stuck between 'Don Quixote' in 4/4 time or my personal favorite, Bolero in a 6/8 rhythm, am open to suggestions, but must admit Ravel's masterwork of simplicity & perseverence, has always conveyed, an
      unrushed 'March of Time' to me...I first listened to it,
      (again & again) when I was 10,... My parents were traveling in Europe, I got farmed out to the Company VP, and his Angelic & Beautiful Spanish wife, my temp-Mom, living in Forrest Hills, Queens, NY...the Tennis Place~~~and she had a backhand too, she pointed me to the reserve Bedroom that doubled as the Music Room, and I was hooked, wall to wall records~~~ anyhOW getting a bit longwinded here, if you haven't listened to Bolero for a while, you may enjoy it again too, or if you'd care to offer another title, I'm all ears, when I'm not squawkin~~~

      P.S. 3 Cheers for Mrs. A~~~
      "Let's Roll"

  2. The highly racist circles i travel in are highly ambivalent about the abortion ruling. On one hand they don't like abortion, on the other, more black babies.

    1. SidVic ,The highly pragmatic circles I travel in , have have voiced the same idea.

    2. Yeah, only in red states to boot. Good one. I will steal it. I'm a race pragmatist. Better cool it- Dip will have to start moderating comments.

    3. "highly racist circles...are...ambivalent about...abortion ruling. On one hand they don't like abortion, on the other, more black babies."

      Speaking of whom,
      my Bro's of dif Mo's!

      A Savvy Black Guy,
      w/the help of another
      Savvy Brutha, learns
      some important truths,
      'bout black n' white life
      plus, boat loads 'bout
      SLAVERY T@^@~~~
      What say you, 'Bones',
      ah, I mean Doc?:
      "Let's Roll"

  3. Do you make the wife carry your firearms home, too?

    1. You have revealed a dirty secret of the Diplo household

  4. You can confirm that Fransisco Franco is still dead?

    1. According to Saturday Night Live in the early days, he is thoroughly dead.

    2. My program Director thought we
      we should better confirm your
      viable sauces of info, Mr ww,
      Sad News, the News is true,
      Here tis in a small nut shell:
      but very tasty,and tickles
      the cockles of the
      small intestine

      Lastly, and sadly too, I cannot confirm that the comedian
      masquerading as the Peoples prescient President of
      the Walled City of DC, has been spotted and may have
      been secured in his, previously thought to be, his,
      On Watch~~~
      getting tired~~~
      out here in the <3 Land
      to sleep, Per Chance
      to wakeup w/Trump
      at the Helm of State
      "Let's Roll"

  5. Sadly I have only been to the (original?) Toledo in Ohio. Mostly driving between Detroit and Dayton, so I'm no expert. Somehow I suspect Toledo Spain is nicer.
    (system wouldn't accept my blog URL so I used yours)

    1. "Mostly driving between Detroit
      and Dayton, so I'm no expert"-Doc
      Hay Weasel~~~
      Did you ever try that
      Detroit to Daytona
      'round trip' 24hr
      run? It'l put hair
      on your eh chest
      and callusess on
      de derriere~~~
      Then there's
      the Tallahasse
      to Pocano Mts
      climb, watch
      out for Local
      yokals they'l
      use up both
      lanes on a 1
      lane Road !
      PS wear your
      helmet at
      all times,
      especially at
      the pit stops~~~
      'Rollin down
      Highway 41'
      "Let's Roll"

  6. As a generally libertarian leaning person, I'm generally opposed to the government banning stuff. Of course with the abortion thing, the ruling effectively is banning a ban on banning abortion.
    I'm not happy with how that all parses out, so I collapse it all to "federal government no longer has a view on abortion."

    I'm sympathetic to scotus' calling roe-v-wade as inventing rights that weren't enumerated. As a population, the US shouldn't rely on the court to bring the law into line with popular or unpopular positions. We have enumerated rights... if we want to add/change those rights, we have an amendment process for that. It's not "get 5 votes on the court to make it a right." even though that is now a long-established pattern from Roe to Obergefell.

    - reader #1482

    1. >As a generally libertarian leaning person, I'm generally opposed to the government banning stuff.
      First they banned smoking, then big sodas, and then pre-emptive corporal punishment. They're banning everything!1!

    2. "First they banned smoking, then big sodas, and then pre-emptive corporal punishment."...
      Where's my Luckys? Sounds like the 5 Boroughs of NYC under Bloomboig -- anybuddy puts Dem "corporal" whacks on me, gonna hear from 2nd's viz a meet in New Joisy~~~: Introducing~~~ my 'seonds',~~~ Amy N; Tammy~~~,
      >>>go gettem goils~~~

      HowLin on the prOWl, nOW~~~
      "Let's Roll"

    3. Yeah.. main thing is the banning. I don't see how it makes sense for the federal government to ban state/local governments from banning stuff... But at the same time, I'm not sure we can ban that stuff at the local level either, because it's something extremely contentious. The government in general should stay out of contentious subjects and allow things to be decided at the most local level possible.
      Right or wrong, it's contentious.. and regardless of whether it's murder or 'a choice', it's still contentious to the point where local administration makes the most practical sense. Something has to be decided... and people are going to be very angry regardless of what is decided... so minimizing the scope of the resultant problems is probably best.

      - reader #1482

    4. Gub..."ment in general should stay out of contentious subjects and allow things to be decided at the most local level possible."

      You said it 14n'82
      and that is why we have our
      local leadership, where we live,
      ie.Constitutional Sheriffs, and
      County & State Court Judges.
      " minimizing the scope of the
      resultant problems is probably best."-#1482

      Afterall, if your neighbors, don't like killing
      60-70 million viable American offspring so that
      Communistas can illegaly usurp, via murder our babies, rightfull place in time, at the Voting booth... so while actually |giving birth and offering the child for adoption|, may be a bit more inconvenient than, KILLING IT in the womb, I suspect the Church men & women and other goodfolks, will accept the challenge, 'the Salvation of America's most important creations'... G-d bless'em~~~
      On Watch~~~
      ...take it away Meistro
      "Let's Roll"

  7. Vacations are nice to get away, it's getting crazy out there.

    1. Re: "Vacations": After vaxinations, and
      w/ the permission of counsel, I tried that!
      It didn't work -- It was CrAZyierout there,
      than in here! }:+{~~~

  8. Yo Diplomad!

    You mention 'The Valley of the Fallen' is very big?

    So I goes myself on a virtual tour to judge for myself and comes upon this:

    Ooh my oh my that there Valley of the Fallen sure is a big place!


    1. Ay Mate, noticed that a mob, of Sheilas, (I assume, based on the subject matter) associated with "Adelaide Metrics Inc" (see link details). Now, as a "Mental Health" courtesy, for the Promoters, the Gals, and Staff too, I would caution that, a 3 day menstrual leave is best taken prior to onset (PMS).
      Be careful up there, especially with those Boars and Stags,
      roaming 'round in the woods~~~
      On Watch~~~
      Oh you take the high road~~~
      ~~~and I'll take the lowroad~~~

  9. Spain allows abortions up to 14 weeks. Mississippi is 15 weeks, the law in contention with the current draft of the ruling in favor. In Texas, abortions are illegal if fetal heartbeat (I’m sorry, embryonic pulsing) is detected - which is about 6 weeks. Tennessee just passed a law banning mail in abortifacients. States being states as it should be. Now the next step will be to recognize the boundary as to which the earliest 50% of infants can approximately survive outside the womb with medical help. That should be a hard no for an abortion unless life of mother, etc. It’s a good time to be pro life.

    1. "...It’s a good time to be pro life."
      Read, 62 million US Babies
      aborted since Roe... much,
      like mass murder in my eyes
      Saying a prayer for all those
      who could have been,

      On Watch~~~
      "Let's Roll"

  10. I have nothing wise to say about
    the political insanity back home. -WLA

    Glad to Report, there was a glint of
    Gold & Blue sunshine that lifted
    a dark cloud a few clicks. . .
    Over Here~~~
    Who woulda thunk?
    ...the teaching of Critical Race Theory to service members, including putting volumes like Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be An Antiracist on recommended reading lists.

    Quietly, Kendi’s atrocity and other woke books have been
    removed from the US Navy’s recommended reading list.

    The Navy’s Professional Reading Program list for 2022 comprises a dozen books mainly focusing on the Navy and military strategy.
    GO Navy!
    Beat Army~~~
    On Watch~~~

    "Lets Roll"

  11. 'Valley of the Fallen... despite all that, it's definitely worth a visit. If nothing else, it will make you think of Ozymandias. ~wla

    ~~~Ozymandias of Egypt~~~
    ______P.B. Shelley_____
    I MET a traveller from an antique land
    Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
    And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command 5
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: 10
    Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains: round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.
    "Let's Roll"


    2. "Hammer down"~~~

  12. Überdeplorable Psychedelic Cat GrassMay 18, 2022 at 1:26 PM

    I write this from a hospital looking at the bassinet containing my third child who was born yesterday.

    I hope one day to take them to Spain if I can. El Valle is beautiful. I remember when they were talking about removing his body. I still have a book in Spanish that I bought on the monument when my parents siblings came to visit when I was studying there.

    Toledo is a wonderful city. I remember, if I recall correctly it was a she, a Spaniard I knew walking with her in the plaza downtown and she saw Calle de Toledo de Ohio. She asked me, “What’s Toledo, Ohio like?”

    I said, “Pues…”. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Toledo, OH has nothing on Toledo, Spain. I do remember seeing old Rabbi clothing from back in the day at one of the museums. It may have been there one of the synagogues, maybe the one your ancestors prayed at…

    Please, tell everyone you picked up some mazopán from that shop just outside the plaza.

    San Sebastián? Well, the food is good and it’s warm enough now you can go kayaking to the island the middle. Just beware the herriko tabernas…knowing your wife is Basque, I’m sure you’ll be fine.

    1. "I write this from a hospital looking at the bassinet containing my third child who was born yesterday." -UPCG

      Congrats! to you, and your New Arrival~~~
      with Best regards, and wishes for long
      happy & healthy lives together,
      along with the rest of your
      loving family~~~
      On Watch~~~
      Happy Birthday~~~