- Brexit.Hugh Elliott, British ambassador to Spain: "It is very possible to get the approval of Westminster"
"If you're still here, Lourdes, I say thank you again, I'd love to tell you in person." Hugh Elliot, British ambassador to Spain, has recorded a video from the Burgos train station to tell how in 1984, in that city, his affection for Spain was born.
In 1984, during a bicycle trip from the United Kingdom to Santiago de Compostela, a young and unknown Hugh Elliot decided that, to save some time, he was going to take a train from Carcassonne, in the south of France, to Burgos. He billed his bicycle and arrived safely in the city. But the bicycle was lost in a car.
" I was in trouble, I had very little money and a tent, " recalls Elliot in the video, in front of the train station, now a leisure center.
His idea was to stay at the campsite, but he was far away, several kilometers away, and he didn't have (let's not forget) his bike. So he did what most Spaniards would do when faced with a dilemma: look for the solution in a bar. Popular wisdom temples almost always open.
Elliot himself says: " I went to the bar to reflect. There I met a Canadian, Eli Rubenstein." He tells his story and Eli explains that he is in Burgos to visit his girlfriend, called Lourdes (surnamed Arnaiz, for more information). We assume that he would say something like "She will know what to do" (in English in the original).
"When she arrived, she did not hesitate to invite me to stay with her and her brother in her apartment in the city and return the next day for the bicycle." But when Elliot returned to the station, the bike had not yet arrived. So the Arnaiz extended the invitation. The ambassador took five days to recover his appreciated means of transport.
"I spent five days at home, eating as a family, without being allowed to pay anything," says the British ambassador. " In how many countries would such an outsider have taken refuge? " Asks Hught Elliot finally.
The history of Lourdes and the bicycle of Burgos has gone viral on the social network after the ambassador shared it on his Twitter profile. And it is that the nice anecdote explains the affection for Spain of the ambassador, as he acknowledges in the video. An affection that moves to other typically Spanish traditions such as croquettes that, also on Twitter, Elliot himself defines as " one of the fundamental pillars of civilization ." Again, most Spaniards would agree.
Member of the diplomatic corps since 1989 (which led him to Madrid as the first destination), Elliot assumed the position as ambassador last August, replacing Simon Manley. He had previously been Director of Communication at the Ministry for Brexit. Elliot is a lover of Spain, literally. It was in Salamanca, while working as an English professor at the University, where he met his wife Maria Antonia (Toñi). His two children were also born in Spain. Specialist in the European Union, Elliot has previously worked at the British embassies in Buenos Aires and Paris.
The life of Lourdes, however, remains a mystery after 1984. As confirmed from the British embassy in Madrid, so far has not appeared. Nor is it known (but we can imagine it) if the Burgos are thinking that this story of the ambassador's bicycle is the best promotional campaign in their city they could have imagined.
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