Sunday, February 27, 2011

Holy Toledo!

Yeah. We went there--Toledo in the autonomous community of Castilla de la Mancha (just south of Madrid). We had another group excursion two weekends ago and it was incredible. There is still a wall and river surrounding the medieval city in central Spain and the architecture is breath-taking.

On the way to Toledo, we stopped in Arranjuez--another medieval city. We walked around exploring palaces and gardens galore.

Then we arrived at Toledo past sunset, whilst it was pouring buckets. Brandon, Chelsea, Alex and I found some dinner and then scurried back to the hotel until our scheduled tour in the morning. We ended up playing cards with Jessica and Sao until late learning Cantonese and Hmong. "Npau npaim" means "butterfly" in Hmong, if you were wondering.

The next morning was hilarious. Chelsea and I, being the economical/cheap ladies we are, made ourselves breakfast from the free one offered at the hotel, and also used the buffet to make sandwiches and lunch things for ourselves to save money later. Boy, are we clever. Or thieves. I can't tell.

During our guided tour of Toledo, we lucked out and missed all of the rain scheduled for that day. Hallelujah. However, it was still a bit cloudy so please forgive the gray-ish but still incredible views of the entrance to the city.

Our guide then took us the famous Catedral de Toledo. They first began building it in 1226! It is yet another World Heritage Site (surprise!) and rightfully so. Petrus Petri did most of the designing.

The cloisters and patio of the cathedral:

After the tour, we had free time to walk around a bit more and find some lunch before getting on the bus again (for 4 1/2 hours!). We found the stairwell just past the bridge into the back entrance of the city that we dangerously climbed up during the downpour the night before. It was dry and beautiful out. So we plopped down on those stairs and dined on our (stolen?) food. View from the stairs:

Then I found a bakery and went to town on this bad boy. HOW COULD I NOT BUY THIS, I ASK YOU.

Once we were back on the road, we drove for an hour or so, then stopped in the province of Ciudad Real, and more specifically El Campo de Criptana. This place is famous for housing the "molinas" or windmills that Don Quixote fought in Cervantes' novel. Of course, he thought they were dragons, but he fought them valiantly! It was very cool to see literature that I have actually read staring me in the face in physical form, to put it as poorly as possible. I loved it.

Finally, a group picture of all of us (minus three). An excellent trip, indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment