I don’t blame you if you don’t bother reading this chapter. I’ve given the game away with the heading, so you know where it is and can move on. But I originally wrote this whole sorry saga to give some idea of just how freaking hard it can be to track down locations when faced with so many conflicting stories, and how sometimes dogged determination and a stroke of luck is all that’s needed.
- The Bank of Mesa Verde - Medinaceli, Soria.
“The bank itself was a building in Burgos” says Professor Christopher Frayling in his biography of Leone, when describing the whereabouts of the Bank of Mesa Verde. It’s an impressive but maddeningly vague statement, and yet it’s the only clue in print that alludes to the actual location of this elusive and important element in the plot of DUCK YOU SUCKER.
I had always argued that the Bank was in Guadix, like the Cathedral of “Mesa Verde” and the execution wall, and when I visited Guadix in 1974, I strolled for a while around the streets of this steep and hilly city, expecting at any moment to wander away into that unusually flat square, where I could sit in a restaurant, sip cold beer and gaze out at “Thee Bank”.
Having no photographic reference with me, I really couldn’t ask the locals, and so I went away, disappointed at not finding the place, but fairly sure that with more time at my disposal I could have been there.
Flash forward 26 years and I’m arguing this out with Don: “It’s definitely in Guadix - if I’d have spent more time there, I’d have found it!”.
Don’s curious about Frayling’s statement, “What if it is in Burgos? You think he’s wrong?”
“I don’t believe it’s in Burgos, it has to be in Guadix. Maybe he means that the interior of the Bank is a building in Burgos. It seems an awful long way for Leone to go just to shoot one scene.”
“Well, maybe we should check Burgos so that you can prove Frayling is wrong.”
Don always had this strange idea that I enjoyed proving people wrong about things, and in particular, proving that Frayling was wrong about things. Okay, so maybe that’s the way it comes out, but in reality my driving obsession is to find the truth, and in this industry of fantasy and spin, finding the truth is an uphill struggle.
We were staying in Madrid during the first four days of our year 2000 trip, and having located San Miguel from FOD, and the shattered town from GBU on the first day, we had spent the next two days driving up to Covarrubias in Burgos province to cover all of the GBU Civil War scenes. Don felt that we should spend our last day driving up there again and then going the extra 32 kilometres to the City in order to check out Frayling’s theory. If we did that, we’d not have time to get to the FOD river, or the rocky location in GBU where Blondie rescues Tuco from the bounty hunters, two of the many places whose possible locations I had inked onto my map. It was a tough call, but I think even then, Don was not ruling out coming back here another year to sort out what had been missed.
What finally convinced me, however, was the realisation that we were flying down to Almeria the next day, and if we didn’t check Burgos, what would we do if we got to Guadix and it wasn’t there?
That was the persuasive argument that saw us driving 237 kilometres all the way up to the ancient City of Burgos through a dull and drizzling Sunday morning. I had bought a map from a motorway service station on the way there, and began scanning for possible city squares that might stand-in for the Plaza of Mesa Verde, but when we got into the city, it was so built up and busy with traffic that we decided to stop and ask the locals, rather than attempt the tour on our own. Don pulled up outside a small garage, whilst Marla and I went inside to strike up a conversation.
We show the pictures around as usual, and most of the people recognise the movie, which they refer to as AGACHATE MALDITO, but nobody thinks the buildings are in Burgos. An old man tells us that he’s lived in Burgos for 40 years, and he’s sure it wasn’t filmed here. And as far as Marla is concerned, that wraps it up: “He’s lived here forty years, he would know if it was filmed here.”
Amongst the interested crowd is a tanned guy in his forties, who seems desperate to help us, almost like it’s a point of honour not to let us down. He asks us to wait a moment whilst he goes out to his car and presently comes back with a massive guide-book to Spain. Then, after conferring with the old man and another customer, and leafing through the book to study and point at different pictures, they appear to come to some sort of agreement signified by a nodding of heads, and after closing the book solemnly, he comes over to deliver the verdict. The general consensus is that it’s at Lerma.
This is an amazing possibility. Lerma is the town on the Madrid - Burgos highway where you turn off to Covarrubias to get to the locations used for the Civil War sequences in GBU. We can now start to theorise that Leone spotted this town square when he was here shooting GBU, and remembered it when he needed somewhere for the Bank of Mesa Verde. In fact, when we first drove past Lerma and those other villages on the road to Covarrubias, we often joked that the quickest way to prison would be to drive in there, grab the nearest local and say: “You got a bank around here?”
Well we’re all for thanking this guy, whose name is Daniel, and driving straight for Lerma, but he glances at his watch, decides he has enough time, and asks us to follow him.
For a Sunday, the traffic is incredibly busy, and Don has to concentrate real hard in order to follow the twists and turns that Daniel’s car is taking, and at the same time not spectacularly fall foul of some serious traffic violations. We move further into the old part of the city, and Daniel indicates that we park at the side of the road. “Is this safe to park here?” asks Don.
“He seems to think so,” I shrug.
Then we’re walking down these tourist-filled streets in the constant drizzle, and Daniel, who keeps checking his watch, keeps us moving at a fast pace. We stop at a building that turns out to be a tourist information office, which is clearly not supposed to be open, but Daniel rings the bell and hammers on the door, and pretty soon an official turns up. He doesn’t seem too perturbed at being disturbed, and after a short conversation in which Daniel shows him the frame grabs of the Mesa Verde bank and gets yet another confirmation that this is definitely not Burgos, Daniel is leading us down more twisting streets and further into the old part of the city.
We arrive at a second tourist office, which this time is open and is being manned by two young ladies. Daniel shows them our frame grabs, and then they start pulling out some brochures and city guides for him to study. The girls are obviously too young to have been around when Leone shot his movie, but they are certainly giving Daniel the information he requires.
He checks his watch again, and then doubles back, taking us through a side street and then into a bookshop where he begins a conversation with the bookseller. It now becomes clear what he’s doing - he’s trying to get a photograph of something like our frame-grab that will prove exactly where it is. Lerma is his best guess, but it might be one of the other towns in the area, and he wants to be sure.
Unfortunately, he can’t find anything that will help, but thanking the shop-keeper, he leads us back to the car, checks his watch once more, and then asks us if we’d like a coffee.
“Are the cars okay, parked here?” I ask
“No problem” he nods.
So we go into this coffee bar, and order some refreshing drinks, and before we know what’s going on, Daniel’s buying us our coffees. “No, no,don’t let him do that” says Don, “he shouldn’t be doing that - we should be buying him a coffee for all he’s done.”
So I try to explain to him that we are very grateful for his time, and we’d really like to pay for the coffees, and we hope he isn’t going to be offended, and eventually, with great reluctance, he allows us to pay for him.
We sat with him for a while confirming that we were going to go to follow his advice and visit Lerma, and periodically he would check his watch, and then hop to the door to look outside.
“Is he sure it’s okay to park here?” Don asks.
When Daniel sits down again, I ask him if it’s okay to park here, and he smiles and shakes his head. A few moments later we’re dashing out to our cars, and with a last wave we see Daniel disappear into the traffic as he races off to his delayed appointment and we return south towards Lerma.
One of the things we learnt from Daniel and the other people of Burgos that he took us to meet was the Spanish word “montaje”, which they often used when pointing to certain of the buildings in the photograph. I asked him what it meant and he came up with “fake”, which we refined into “film-set”. Apparently, the problem everybody was having with recognising the location, was that not all of the buildings were real. Some of them were architecturally inconsistent with what is normal in Spain, and as a consequence had to be “montaje” - a fake set built for the film. And one other thing of importance came out - Lerma was everybody’s best guess if Mesa Verde was indeed shot up here in the province of Burgos, but they all really thought that the architecture was far more consistent with that found in Southern Spain.
Honestly, I wasn’t feeling smug.
We soon covered the 32 kilometres back down south to the Spaghetti junction around Lerma, and following my instructions, Don took the left turn into the town, and proceeded to drive us through the narrow streets and up to the highest and most central point, where I now fully expected to step back thirty years, or maybe even ninety years into the town square of Mesa Verde. Unfortunately, the streets were very narrow, and hardly opened out at all. There was little room for a town square unless you took a stick of dynamite and blew up a whole stack of houses, and so we stood in the centre of this quaint little town with our frame grabs held at arms length and discussed which houses we would need to demolish.
The problem was that all the houses looked much older than thirty years, and the other problem, about which Don kept reminding me, was that none of the houses were three storeys tall, like in the movie. I usually added “and like in Guadix” when that thought cropped up. But in my heart I really would’ve liked to have nailed Mesa Verde down here. It seemed so appropriate now, based on our mythical scenario of Leone passing through Lerma to Covarrubias for GBU, and storing the town square away in his mind for future use. I decided it was time to ask the locals, who seemed to be in short supply this rainy sunday morning - perhaps they’d seen us with the photographs and heard us discussing dynamite.
We set off back down through the narrow streets on our way out of town, and pulled up next to a likely group of people who were of about the right age to ask. I showed them the photographs, and although they knew of the film, they didn’t recognise the town square. One of them suggested Almeria, of course, on account of the architecture, and the fact that that’s where they shoot all the Westerns. I told them that we had been talking to some people in Burgos, and they were the ones who thought it might have been shot here in Lerma.
“In Lerma?” the old, bespectacled Gentleman asked. I nodded, and everybody began to laugh.
“This isn’t Lerma,” he said. And then turning around, he looked for a gap between the houses behind me and pointed to a town on the next hillside south of us: “That’s Lerma,” he said.
I can’t remember exactly how the conversation went when I got back in the car, but I know I felt pretty stupid explaining that I’d taken the first turn and got us into Villalmanzo when I should’ve taken the second turn and got us into Lerma.
But to spare me further embarassment, lets flip-wipe ahead to find us in the centre of Lerma, with our photographs in one hand, and our metaphorical stick of dynamite in the other.
It’s a much bigger town than Villalmanzo, with wider streets and more open spaces, and there is a rather large square at the highest point, the “Plaza Mayor” filled with parked cars, and overlooked by a grand building, the “Palacio Ducal” at one end, but it’s not Mesa Verde.
While Don looked after the horses again, Marla and I headed into town for the nearest saloon in order to talk with the locals. Fortunately, we immediately bumped into a young Brazilian student who spoke terrific English and who said he was on his way around the World. I though that was pretty impressive, because when I was his age, my only ambition was to find all the Spaghetti Western locations in Spain, and ironically, here I was still looking for one.
He was able to translate Spanish into English for us, and he left his drink behind to take us through town to the main tourist office where everybody had agreed was the best place for us to go and ask.
The man at the tourist office took one look at our photograph, and said “Almeria”.
He was in his mid thirties, and knew of the film, but was probably too young to have remembered if it had been filmed here in Lerma. However, he wasn’t going to give up easily. So he takes his jacket off the rack, scoops up a couple of brochures from the display stand, walks us to the door and locks up the office. Then he marches us through the streets to the “Plaza del Pan”, the old market place (Mercado Viejo), picking up Don on the way.
The square is rather small, and it’s not flat, but he makes a pretty good argument for a couple of the buildings matching ones in the photograph, and he explains how the square used to have a theatre that burned down over thirty years ago, and how it’s all been rebuilt, and maybe it could have been here. And I look around and notice that some of the buildings have three storeys, and I point that out to Don. But he’s not convinced, and in the end, neither am I.
What if it’s in the next town on the way to Covarrubias? What if it’s Covarrubias? We spend the rest of the afternoon doing the Civil War circuit again, but this time checking out the town squares. It’s not Santo Domingo, it’s not Isola, it’s not Hacinas, Barbadillo, Covarrubias. It’s not in Burgos, Professor.
We resume our quest several days later in Almeria, where in contrast to our day in Burgos, the sun was high and hot. I’m fully pumped up with knowing that I’m right and that the Bank of Mesa Verde has to be in Guadix. One important factor in my strong belief rests with the film TEPEPA, or VIVA LA REVOLUCION. This movie starring Tomas Milian and directed by Giulio Petroni has several scenes filmed in Guadix, exactly where Leone filmed. The execution wall features memorably, but there are also scenes in a restaurant which looks remarkably similar to the one that Coburn occupies, and which overlooks the Bank of Mesa Verde. My feeling was that both these locations would surely be very close together for them to be used by both films.
So when we get there, I march Don and Marla up the rise into the City, past the Cathedral, and towards the execution wall, which I feel will be a good starting point to finding the Bank. The principle being that “Leone don’t hike”, and since he’s here shooting the execution, he’s probably just turning the corner to shoot the Bank.
When we passed the cathedral on our way to the execution wall, I stopped and talked to a middle-aged lady who was having her furniture moved around in the cool hallway of her shaded house. I showed her the execution wall pictures in order to save time in re-locating it, and she gestured off to the left exactly where I expected it to be.
I also showed her the pictures of the Mesa Verde Bank and square. She seemed to recognise them pretty quickly and made a wide gesture towards Granada, seeming to suggest that the Plaza was in Guadix, but along the Granada road.
After visiting the execution wall, and our previously described encounter with Luis Bermudez, we took a short drive along that road to Granada, but the city just seemed to disappear into modernity, and none of the locals in this area seemed to recognise the photographs of the Plaza at all.
So we retraced our route back through the City Centre, and it was then that Don spotted the Guardia Civil station. I’d actually been here at this very spot thirty years before, when I came in on the old Almeria - Guadix road, and back then I’d stopped to ask the police about the locations of Leone’s films. Of course at the time, the filming was completely fresh in everyone’s mind, and when I mentioned Leone, the Police officer’s eyes lit up and he threw his arms around in a wide circle, gesturing to the whole of Guadix saying “Here is where Leone filmed, here!” And the pride in his voice was clear.
When Marla and I spoke to the police this time, there was a lot of puzzled looks and shaking of heads. They vaguely remembered “AGACHATE MALDITO”, but they said that the town had changed over the thirty years with a lot of rebuilding, and maybe that was why nobody recognised the Mesa Verde Plaza.
So we went back to the Cathedral, and I had all the photographs out and was making plans to search the City for Plazas, when this guy in his forties on a motorbike rides up to us and asks us if we need any help. Now this guy didn’t have goggles on, or a long white coat like James Coburn wore, so we didn’t actually see the green banner above his head proclaiming “Banco Nacional De Mesa Verde”, but it was our best hope.
So we showed him the picture of the Mesa Verde Plaza, and I made a point of suggesting that this or that building might be “montaje”, and he nodded sagely for a moment and then indicated that we follow him.
It must have been fun for Don racing through those narrow twisting streets trying to keep that buzzing motorbike in sight, and not throwing up on account of the flu, but I didn’t notice, because I had this image of the Bank of Mesa Verde in my mind, and at the next moment I fully expected us to turn a corner and it would be there.
The motorcyclist took us to a plaza at the top of town, where the street floor was covered with market produce and pottery, coloured cloth and beads, surrounded by bright white buildings and dominated by a white church. It looked like something straight out of a Spaghetti Western, but it wasn’t Mesa Verde. At the far end of the plaza, was a little tourist information office, and our motorcyclist fetched the official out and we showed him our photographs, but they elicited no recognition at all. He then took us to another Plaza lower down than the execution wall, and this was a fine-colonnaded square with high buildings, complete with another tourist office. The official here told us that this plaza had been built on the ruins of an old plaza, but he was too young to know if it used to look like Mesa Verde.
Finally, our motorcyclist took us to a wide area created by a meeting of streets just above the plaza of the execution wall, and I stood there in the middle, looking around and imagining the new buildings not there and maybe the Bank over this side, and the restaurant over there. But I guess I was fooling myself, because I just didn’t feel I was here. Whenever you get near one of these locations, you can feel it. There’s something exciting about being near, the moment before you arrive, and I wasn’t getting that at all. I couldn’t help but realise that the Bank of Mesa Verde was just not here. I felt that somehow it had been overtaken by progress, and that wherever it was, it had been lost by time.
When I got back to England, Don sent me a photo that he’d taken of me standing in the middle of the road at Rodalquilar where Coburn had stood with his motorcycle, and above me he’d painted a green ribbon with the words “Where the f*** is the Bank of Mesa Verde.”
Hopefully, the story doesn’t end here…
I wrote those despairing words of faint hope back in year 2000, because, barring a miracle, I truly believed that the Bank of Mesa Verde was lost to time. However a series of fortunate circumstances led to some rather interesting clues that eventually convinced us that we should all make one last trip back to Spain in 2002 for the sole purpose of jointly discovering this final piece in the puzzle.
It seemed to have begun with Jose Enrique Martinez Moya, the author of “Almeria, un Mundo de Pelicula”. Being a native of Almeria, he was an expert on a great many of the filming locations in the province, but had little knowledge or interest in those other locations that were to be found in the rest of Spain.
In the winter of year 2000, Jose was involved in the organisation of a Leone Festival held in Almeria, which was attended by Carla Leone and a number of actors, artists and technicians who had worked on the clutch of Westerns that had been made by her late husband. Here, Jose met Production Designer Carlo Leva, and it was Leva who mentioned the Bank of Mesa Verde being located in a small town somewhere North of Madrid called Medina Coeli.
A year later, Don was in Almeria with prolific Spanish actor Aldo Sanbrell, touring the known Western locations to photograph him in situ and to encourage him to reminisce about the scenes in which he was involved. Jose was to end up joining with Don, Marla and Aldo for some of the trip, and when the Bank of Mesa Verde came up in conversation, Jose told Don that he’d heard it was at some old town near Madrid called Medina Coeli.
Now ordinarily, with a piece of information like this, Don would immediately book the very next flight to Madrid and then drive straight out to the place that had been mentioned. But the problem here was that nowhere in Spain is there a town called Medina Coeli.
So another year passes, and we’re still working on the book, and for some scenes we realise that we’re having to admit that we still don’t know where the location is. And one of these scenes is the Bank of Mesa Verde, which for me has become something of a bete noir. Then one day, as Don is checking out the forum on the Sergio Leone Web page, he sees a posting from Luca Morsella. Immediately, the wheels in Don’s head go into overdrive. Luca Morsella? Could he be the son of Fulvio Morsella, the man who was Leone’s business advisor, his producer, and the brother-in-law of his wife Carla?
Yes, indeed he was. So Don immediately got in touch with him and asked him point blank: “Where is the Bank of Mesa Verde?” And Luca said: “Medina Coeli”.
Don couldn’t sleep that night. He now felt sure that Medina Coeli had to be the place, but it didn’t exist on any map. Nor could he find it on the net. It had to be a mistake of memory, or spelling - the town wasn’t Medina Coeli, but it had to be something like it, and it had to be north of Madrid.
So he e-mailed me in desperation to see if I could find anything on my maps of Spain that might fit the bill. And the nearest thing I could come up with was Medinaceli, a small town approximately 143 kilometres northeast of Madrid, in the province of Soria. And when I told that to Don, he said that’s what he’d come up with too, and he was booking his flight as soon as the office opened.
At the same time that Don’s natural instinct to get out there and personally check this information was kicking in, my natural instinct to be sceptical was kicking in too:
In the preface to his biography of Leone, Professor Frayling describes how he met Luca Morsella in 1981, how Luca provided the entree for Frayling into Leone’s circle in Rome, and how he had “been a mine of useful information ever since, as well as a friend.”
So my argument went: If Luca Morsella is such a mine of information for Frayling, then how come Frayling’s book says of Mesa Verde “the bank itself was a building in Burgos”, rather than the “bank itself was in Medina Coeli, a small town north of Madrid”?
Like, they never discussed it?
In the intervening weeks before his flight, Don found several web sites for Medinaceli, some which referred to other towns which had a “Palacio De Medinaceli”, and others which featured an apparently famous Roman Arch at Medinaceli itself. But there was nothing yet on any of these sites that would convince me that it was worth flying out there. And as I sat at the computer desperately scanning the net for some confirmation that we were either right or wrong, I continued to be plagued with the fear that our hopeful extrapolation from Medina Coeli to Medinaceli was going to end up proving an expensive and wasted journey for Don and Marla.
Then I came upon this:
I’d begun to use the Yahoo search engine on Spanish sites only, and the first page I encountered was this one by “Charlie Brown and Friends”: Students, apparently, judging by their group photograph. It was headed “Medinaceli, Ciudad Del Cielo” - Medinaceli, City of the Sky, and over several pages was told the history of the town, accompanied by many photographs, of which two concentrated on the large square.
It looked nothing like Mesa Verde.
The houses along the facing edge of the square were supported by a shaded colonnade that stretched all along it’s length. Above them rose the cathedral bell-tower, and to the left was a Palace with two three-storey towers at each end. There was no restaurant, no bank. The palace towers were wrong, the cathedral shouldn’t be there, the colonnade ruined everything. The only thing that was of any use was that there was indeed a set of four rounded arches in the building at the centre of the colonnade, and that might have fooled you into thinking that this was the place.
So, with a real sense of disappointment, I got out my new Special Edition DVD of GIU LA TESTA, and skipped to the appropriate sequence in order to get some frame grabs that would prove how Medinaceli could not possibly be Mesa Verde. And then the scales fell from my eyes.
The four rounded arches which were on the ground floor of the central building, and mirrored on the balcony above were, at first glance, the only similarity between the photograph of Medinaceli and the plaza of Mesa Verde. But what really clinched the comparison was a crest in the centre of the middle arches. So, if you imagined the restaurant - which everyone to whom we’d shown the original frame grabs insisted was a fake, because it was not of Spanish design - were to be superimposed to the left of the arches and further forwards into the square, you had something that could be possible.
Then I looked up at the roof of the restaurant, which had a low horizontal wall running along the top edge. You could see through this wall to the sky beyond, because it was an ornate design with circular perforations. But at the far left, there appeared to be something behind it blocking the light. And that something was exactly where the cathedral tower could be seen rising behind the houses in the Medinaceli photograph.
Now I turned my attention to the houses on the right of the four rounded arches: Again at first glance this was all wrong. The long balcony matched, but the roof was wrong, and the colonnade in the Medinaceli photograph had become a solid wall in the Mesa Verde images. Could these have been covered with a fake wall?
Then I saw the oblong crest above the balcony, and there was no doubt whatsoever that this was in the exact same place in both the town photograph and the film.
At this stage I thought that I had some pretty impressive matching clues, but I really wanted to see if the Ducal Palace to the left of the photograph of Medinaceli could be seen in any of the film’s images. Stepping through the DVD, I found the perfect shot.
It comes just as Rod Steiger’s character leans against the restaurant window and sees the James Coburn character seated at a table in the restaurant. There’s a point of view shot for Steiger peering through the window that reflects the left side of the square, and sure enough, there was the Ducal Palace.
I quickly scanned all the pictures, circled the matching clues and posted them to Don.
About an hour later, he e-mailed back with some more photographs of Medinaceli that he’d taken from a different internet site, but headed his e-mail with the words: “You’re right. We’ve just got back - how’d you like to see our photos from the trip?”
Yeah right. Nice wind-up
Three weeks later we met up in Madrid, and on Monday 25th march 2002, we were driving Northeast out of the city along the N11 through Alcala De Henares, Guadalajara and several smaller towns towards Medinaceli.
We were fooled at first, because just after you follow the signs off the motorway, you pass through a little town at the bottom of a valley surrounded by steep hills, which is signposted “Medinaceli”. This place is not promising at all, being a combination of old buildings and modern Industrial units, and what’s more, there is no town square, and no cathedral. However, if you continue on the road past the town, and wind up the steep hillside, you can see above you on the very crest of the hill, an old town of stone buildings, and a beautiful Roman Archway. You can also see the cathedral. And even from half-way up the hill, we all knew we had arrived.
Driving past the arch, we entered the eerily quiet town and having parked the car, walked the short distance towards the Cathedral and the town square.
The light was blindingly bright, reflecting harshly from the whiteness of the paved square, and the bleached stone of the Ducal palace, whilst black shadows engulfed the colonnade of buildings that we had come to find. Above us was a canopy of dense blue sky, devoid of cloud. The air was fresh, with a bracing coolness that disguised the intensity of the sun’s burning light.
Medinaceli became Mesa Verde through the magic of cinema. The colonnade had been disguised by flat panels, whilst the restaurant had been constructed in the square as a full three-dimensional building, which had subsequently been dismantled after filming. The Bank itself was a flat, propped up by scaffolding in front of another row of houses. The town hall, with it’s zig-zag lines of red bricks had been merely painted over, and was now back to it’s plain white stone, serving as an infants school. The famous building with it’s vertically paired sets of four arches is the Alhondiga, a business office for merchants, and the oldest part of town, dating from the fifteenth century.
One of the residents who lives in a house overlooking the square proudly invited us inside to see his home and share a drink whilst he told us something of this beautiful town. This was Alfonso Larraz Isturiz, a lawyer who works in Madrid during the week, but like most of the residents retires to his home here in Medinaceli for the weekend.
He explained to us that that Palacio Ducal had been renovated about three years previously, and this explained the appearance of the two three-storey towers at either end of the building, which were not evident in the scenes filmed by Leone. We told him that we had almost missed finding this place because of the smaller town in the valley bottom that was confusingly signposted Medinaceli, and he agreed that this fooled a lot of people. “Everybody hears about how wonderful Medinaceli is”, he said, “and when they pass the town below, they wonder what all the fuss is about, and drive on past”.
I get the feeling that the proud residents of this beautiful and quiet place of solitude, this “Ciudad Del Cielo” - City in the Sky - would like to keep it that way.
(I trust that Don will now adjust the photograph of me taken on the road to Rodalquilar, so that the words on the green ribbon now simply read “Medinaceli, Ciudad Del Cielo”.)