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Notes on the Geography of Spain: Madrid: Photo 3

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Tunnels run, for example, under the old Puente de Toledo, the bridge from which the preceding photos were taken. The Manzanares is now confined under two of the bridge's nine arches, but visitors in times past said that it could easily fit under one. Here's an example: Alexander Slidell Mackenzie, an American naval officer who anonymously published A Year in Spain (1836). He praises the bridge "which would do honour to the Hudson or the Susquehannah." He goes on to say, however, that "when we crossed it, one of its nine noble arches would have been sufficient to allow the passage of the Manzanares; for it flows in a narrow bed of shingle, in the middle of the ravine." He then repeats a common joke about a person who "had seen many fine rivers that wanted a bridge, but here was a fine bridge sadly in want of a river, which he thought it would be a very good idea to sell in order to buy water." Ford, who came by a few years later, wrote that the Manzanares was "entitled a river by courtesy, because it has bridges, which most running waters in Spain have not." He suggested that visitors who happened to be in Madrid during a rainstorm "should run quickly down to see the river before it is gone...."

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