OK… let’s try this again. Along with my usually lucky Aztec shirt, Mary and I moved on from Cadiz to our lucky city of Alicante, Spain, which has many similarities to San Diego. In this photo, I’m pointing at Alicante’s most famous landmark, Santa Barbara Castle. Its rich history, I believe, offers some lessons for our hometown Aztecs.
For more than one thousand years, Santa Barbara Castle has been a crossroads between kingdoms and cultures. It has seen many battles. In 1961, they declared it a National Historical Monument. One of the most famous battles in Spanish history took place here.
In 1221, Castilian forces, led by General Hoke, Marqués of Castile, a veteran from the east of the country, captured the castle. He was a seasoned general who won many battles. Lost a few too. His army was considered one of the best armies on the west coast. The citizens of Alicante rewarded the general and his army with a new castle to replace the old one that leaked.
On the inauguration day of the new castle, it was hot, real hot, and there was little shade for his warriors or the citizens of Alicante. Zonian warriors from the desert, who loved the heat, attacked and savaged them. Even though the Castilians thought they were superior to the Zonians, they were not well prepared for the heat or fury of their enemy and badly lost the battle, sending the Castilians back to the Spanish Mesa wounded, angry, and sad. But the war was not over.
Marqués Hoke, who was no stranger to losing a battle now and then, rallied his troops, telling them that even though they all sucked in the battle with the Zonians, his warriors and commanders were better than that. They could be noble warriors again.
He reminded them of the legendary Castilian General Coryell who took a ragtag army and turned them into elite warriors who won 104 battles in 12 years. And in 1169 they were bestowed the title of the best army in the land.
General Hoke told his men to get over their loss to the Zonians, that they were strong, smart had great warrior skills. He told them that to win, they must believe they can. They did believe, and there was much joy again in Alicante. Go Castilians! — with Mary James at Castello di Santa Barbara Alicante.