Me and my family was invited to the great Hay Festival in Segovia, this fantastic medieval city located just south of Madrid, and where treated as royalties. When I look back at it, it is like a dream, all of it. Being part of the Hay Festival was one reason we were there, holding a lecture for one of the most prestigious Business Schools on earth another. So, we didn´t really get any time to fully enjoy this town so blessed by beauty and history.
We hardly got out of the plane at Barajas, before we set the full speed that would dominate our 5 days visit. We immediately met Baronessa Kennedy and her great surgeon husband Ian, drove in the dark to Segovia and went immediately to a cocktail party at the house of the local marquees. Many famous writers, artists, lecturers and humanitarians where invited and one of the local strong women came up to me and my family and said she knew exactly who I was:
“You are the last romantic on earth!”
My great partner of life smiled…we ate loads of paella, drank the great local red wine and talked about everything from what horses (percheron) are the best for exploring Patagonia on horseback and why my Siberian book never seems to hit the bookshelves. There were many Argentinians there, one of them Daniel the famous photographer, became a new very good friend of ours! An Argentinian who could recite Martin Fierro! Now that doesn´t happen a lot….it was that kind of a party.
Next day started out with a lot of interviews, one of them with El País, the giant Spanish speaking newspaper, whilst sitting in the medieval plaza overlooking a great cathedral, munching on local tapas, what a great experience. True happiness! A bit odder was seeing your name all over town, together with really famous people. Therefore, I was as surprised when the interview in front of people, like a talk show, was sold out in the evening. Our great friend, the associate dean, Samuel Barbero-Martin and I talked about the odd life of an explorer and how life really can be up and down like a roller coaster.
It is during happenings like this I feel more privileged than ever. And I don´t regret choosing the life of an explorer. Even if it has a lot of backsides as well. The only thing I regret is that we missed Baltazar Garzons lecture. And Baronessa Kennedys.