Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Today I fell easy prey to an Otherworld trap, just like Thomas the Rhymer, Janet of Catterhaugh and Ulysses before me.

The day was hot and I was downtown Madrid figuring out places to hang posters offering English and Portuguese language lessons, when I decided to stop by Templo de Debod, an Ancient Egyptian wonder reconstructed with original stuff in the center of an European capital. After one month, I was finally able to sort out the opening hours for visitation, and even though Jose told me there was nothing inside the walls of the temple, the opportunity to dive into the hollow silence that twenty-two centuries old sandstone blocks can produce (in-between the hordes of French or Japanese tourists, of course), and the fact that unlike anything else in Madrid it was free, I decided I’d take the walk to the western fringe and tell my Fetch again that I am indeed in the Old World, in his own language.

Templo de Debod is a thousand times better than anywhere else I’ve paid to get in here. The feel created by sandstone block walls, the feeble light indoors and the extremely informational projectors, interactive guides and folders (all for free!) plugged off some part of me tightly connected to stuff that I honestly shouldn’t care about.

I fantasised on the songs Loreena McKennitt could write after visiting a place like this. I have no idea how long I was frozen and enraptured by the 18th century Lower Nubia maquette, where the temple was originally situated. It’s definetely something to put on your to-see-before-I-die list, and I could spend the rest of my life there, looking at it, living in that world.

As a true Piscean, I say that the reconciliation of the painful discovery after leaving the Otherworld is to remain there. But alas, I was nudged by the security agent at eight p.m., telling me they were about to close the temple for the day.

Try a virtual visit:

Image: Temple of Debod sketched by English artist David Roberts in the late nineteenth century, before the temple suffered terrible decadence by heavy stone mining in the area.