British Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott has shared a video on Twitter in which he reaches out to a woman called Lourdes, who gave him a helping hand on his travels around Spain back in 1984.
In the video, Elliott explains how he’d taken a train from Carcassonne in France to the northern city of Burgos, as part of his plan to cycle to Santiago de Compostela for his Saint James’s pilgrimage.
Unfortunately for him, his bicycle ended up on another train, making it impossible for him to reach the distant campsite he was planning to stay at on his student budget.
“I found myself in a pretty tight spot, I had very little money and a sleeping tent; the campsite was several kilometres away and I didn’t have my bike,” he explains in fluent Spanish.
De visita oficial en el norte de España, comienzo en Burgos y quiero compartir una historia que me pasó en mi primer viaje en bicicleta a la ciudad 🚵♀️ pic.twitter.com/2FjRN1fBrF
— Hugh Elliott (@HughElliottUK) December 3, 2019
In true Spanish fashion, Elliott headed to the closest bar he could find to reflect, where he met a Canadian man who had come to Burgos to meet his Spanish girlfriend.
When she arrived at the bar and heard Elliott’s story, the young lady -who the ambassador seems to recall was called Lourdes Arnáiz – immediately offered to house him at the flat she shared with her brother.
“How many countries would have welcomed a stranger like that?” Elliott asks.
The next day, he headed to the station only to find that his bike still hadn’t arrived.
“Without hesitation, the Arnáiz family invited me to stay at theirs another night.
“It took five days for the bike to arrive. I spent all those days staying and eating with them as family without them letting me pay for anything.
“My fondness for the country and the Spanish people began here, in Burgos, 35 years ago.
Elliott, who’s in the north-central Spanish city as part of a series of official visits around Spain, now wants to take the opportunity to see and thank his long-lost friend.
“If you are still here, Lourdes, I thank you again, and would love to thank you in person.”
So, do you know a Lourdes Arnáiz?