UK ambassador looking to find friend who helped him when he was a hard up youngster in Spain

The British Ambassador to Spain is looking to locate a long-lost friend who gave him food and a roof over his head when he found himself in a tight spot in the city of Burgos 35 years ago.

UK ambassador looking to find friend who helped him when he was a hard up youngster in Spain
Screenshot: Hugh Elliott/Twitter

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.


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?

READ MORE: Introducing the new British Ambassador to Spain

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Trump’s ambassador to Denmark leaves country as president’s term ends

After three years as United States Ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands has stepped down from the post and left Copenhagen.

Trump’s ambassador to Denmark leaves country as president’s term ends
Outgoing United States Ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The now-former ambassador confirmed she had taken leave of the Danish capital via Twitter.

US president Donald Trump’s term ends on Wednesday, with President-elect Joe Biden to be inaugurated at 6pm Danish time.

“It's been a privilege serving the Trump Administration for over 3 years as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark. I’ve enjoyed promoting USA-Denmark-Faroe Islands-Greenland relations,” Sands tweeted.

“I have departed Copenhagen,” she added in a follow-up tweet.

In a video included in the tweets, Sands mentions her highlights of her time as ambassador. These include the re-opening of the US consulate in Greenland capital Nuuk alongside US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Sands, who took over as ambassador in 2017 after being appointed by Trump, is likely to be remembered as the incumbent at the time of Trump’s overtures towards purchasing Greenland, an autonomous territory within the Danish kingdom.

After Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen dismissed Trump’s suggestion that the United States could buy the Arctic territory from Denmark, the US president promptly cancelled an official visit to Denmark scheduled for September 2019.

Sands met with the Danish government on several occasions in an attempt to take the heat out of a potential diplomatic dispute.

READ ALSO: Danes pour scorn on Trump after state visit postponement

More recently, Sands was criticised for tweeting an incorrect claim that her own vote had not been counted in the country's general election.

The ambassador posted on her personal Twitter account a screenshot which she claimed showed her absentee ballot in the state of Pennsylvania had not been registered. She also made several other posts on the site following the US election in support of Trump's baseless claims of election fraud.

Several other Twitter users – as well as the New York Times – looked up Sands' vote on the Pennsylvania state government website and found it was in fact registered.

READ ALSO: US ambassador to Denmark makes incorrect Twitter claim about own vote

After a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington DC on January 6th, Sands was officially contacted by foreign minister Jeppe Kofod. The minister called for Trump to concede defeat in the election and ensure a peaceful transition of power.

Newspaper Berlingske reported that this was the first time in history that a Danish foreign minister had officially protested over internal affairs in the United States.