I've been busy the last couple of days but luckily I've been able to read "first hand" memories and anecdotes from my friends and family there in La Mancha regarding the royal visit last Wednesday via Facebook (advertisement: long review coming
The general opinion is that the visit have been very, very positive for the area. Speaking strictly about my family's town, although it has a heavy cultural and artistic heritage, it's mainly known in the region and not that much in the entirety of Spain. Mariangel Alcazar who is one of the journalists that follow the RF and went there seems to have been very impressed by Villanueva de los Infantes and described it in her chronicle for one national newspaper as "a hidden treasure", and that only can mean positive publicity!
From my experience, people from Infantes are very attached to the town's heritage (I myself have grown to love it even more as I have grown up and known many places around Spain and realized how unfairly unknown it is). You can't imagine how their pride burst out whenever someone praises the town's prettiness or it's aired on TV! So these last days the general feeling was of a great pride and gratitude for the visit and how great the people and the town looked on TV. There is an old friend of my parents (a convinced republican although not the kind that goes to protest
) that I read days ahead of the visit complaining (quite politely, though) about the "excessive" preparations and enthusiasm of the town for a visit that, anyway, was not to be longer than 1 hour and a half, afraid that many could be disappointed after such a huss. Yesterday, though, even he sent a congratulation to the mayor through the Town's Hall FB page stating he was impressed by the great image displayed by the town and the positive reviews seen in the national press.
And you can tell the royal visit's benefits were seen since minute 0! As said before, the day was sort of a holiday for the town. The local schools suspended their classes for two hours to receive the King and Queen at the square, but also the shops and many workplaces left their workers that freetime to enjoy the day. But there was even more, some of the closest towns (four, IIRIC) chartered buses so their locals could also went to the neighbour towns to see F&L, and so did the schools from nearby villages - that's why there were so many children, they even had their especially reserved place
in front of the church). There was an insane amount of people
for such a little town (they are just 5300 neighbours)! Don't miss the press tribune on the square's center on the video too - as i said, amazing touristic advertisement
At nearly 12 a.m. the King and Queen left, but the people that had come to see them stayed. The touristic office from the town published on their day's review that the town was filled by people and bustle all day long, the restaurant and terraces full and the sellers very happy
That last point has been enthusiastically confirmed by my first-hand source (aka Granny
) who added that she has just seen the town so concurred during the Holy Week festivities and the Summer Holidays of festivals.
Refered to the royal couple themselves, my source was a lot behind the first rows of people, the lucky ones that got to shake hands and share a few words with them, but she states that "he's taller than on TV; and she's prettier than on TV too but very thin". Judging by what I saw on the reports, the general opinion is that they are very handsome and were very friendly.
Two of the best-known and beloved neighbours in town are Justo and Angel, that have become locally famous for their impersonations of Don Quixote and his loyal Sancho Panza, especially since we are celebrating Cervantes' 400 anniversary. They usually hang around the town during festivities, partying, making jokes and playing parts of the novel. They seemed to amuse a lot F&L (X
). They told they said the King they had been waiting for them for a lot of time, to what Felipe answered: "I see, thanks for having waited for 400 years!"
Another detail the locals loved, Felipe (always careful with small details) wore very appropriate Don Quixote cufflinks
And they received indeed a box of alfonsinos
(the Alfonso XIII cakes) !
is a local review with some of these anecdotes and also a gallery of pictures taken by neighbours.
And, what from the rest of the journey? Well, I think this interview with the people from the restaurant they ate at is very endearing and juicy, I've enjoyed it a lot! (seems like a 2.0 version of the 11 euros menu affair btw
) It includes details of what they ate (very typical local Castilian food). Letizia asked for two rounds of the same dish and she "ate more than the king" according to the surprised waiter. They were advised just 15 minutes before and he was very nervous and trembling but the King asked him to attend him like any ordinary client. They were invited to the wine by the cellar's owners that were casually at the restaurant, what Felipe thanked. And more, but I will stop typing at once and leave the Google translation instead: