Saturday, 1 September 2012

Itinerants of yore.

George Henry Borrow (1803 -1881).

At Nº 16 (or, there abouts) on Calle de Santiago here in Madrid you will find Despensa de Carmen. I have no idea what Carmen does to her chicken, but it is the most tender, and most delicious chicken in Madrid. €4 for takeaway chicken and chips. Bargain. Plenty of healthier options also. I'm told the tortilla is a bit special.

Above the signage to her cooked food takeaway is a plaque. "Writer, traveller and theologist George Henry Burrow lived here from 1837 -1841 (or, there abouts - I didn't write it down)". "Also known as Don Geordie de Inglese" (or, something like that). I had never heard of him. Seems he outsold Dickens at his height with a book entitled 'The Bible in Spain' - a sort of 19th Century travelogue by a 19th Century Bible basher.

His book (The Bible in Spain) is available for free on Project Gutenberg.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology I now know all about Señor Borrow and can imagine what his life in Madrid may have been about next time I eat chicken and chips outside Despensa de Carmen on Calle Santiago.