Don Quioxte or Sancho Panza – who do you travel to meet?
In a small garden near the Torres de Quart, one of the gates in the old city walls in Valencia, Spain, is a statue honoring Cervantes and his two most famous characters, Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza.
I listened to an audio book of Don Quixote on a 1 month trip in Spain. It’s amazing how the language of this book permeates literature and daily life. Cervantes is credited with such common sayings as “the kettle calling the pot black”, “the proof of the pudding”, “tilting at windmills”… Yes, Don Quixote is a book of significance in popular culture even today.
So it’s not surprising that there would be a statue honoring Cervantes. In fact, there are many such statues in many different cities. What is surprising is the design of this particular statue.
The more common representation of the knight errant and his squire has Quixote on a horse and Panza on a donkey. This statue shows Panza carrying Quixote.
There is a very direct honesty about this representation. In reality, the nobility, the leaders and game-changes (and the somewhat madmen) of history who have books, buildings, parks… named after them, achieved their status only with the help of many minor characters. The Sancho Panzas of the world don’t merely walk beside them, they carry them.
This statue could certainly have been placed in a more prominent spot in Valencia. It’s a wonderful reminder to the traveler to take as much if not more pleasure connecting with people like Sancho Panza as well as those like Don Quioxtes.
Thanks to the Region of Valencia for making my trip to their city possible.