May 31, 2019

Toledo, Spain

Our next stop on this grand adventure was Toledo, Spain.   It is not pronounced like Toledo,Ohio, the e is an eh, something like To Leh Do.  The quick 32 minute ride on a luxurious train was much faster than our trek from the apartment to the Atocha Renfe station of which a few photos were in the last post.

We had just enough time to spare to enjoy a coffee.

Baggage needs to be xrayed prior to boarding.

As we disbarked it felt like we were in a different world. Charming and fairytale like. The Toledo train station is a work of art. Toledo is built on seven hills surrounded by the Tagus River and surrounded by medieval walls. It is a historic city that developed under the influence of multiple cultures and religions turning it into a unique city. It is a labyrinth of narrow streets.  In some places the stone walls have been carved out so that the vehicles side mirrors don’t scrape. At some intersections a post comes out of the ground preventing the car from going forward until the driver gets out and pushes a button that puts another post up so opposing traffic has to stop. It is a different world full of labyrinth streets used mostly by tourists.  Population about 80,000.  There a few cars and even less parking. A total contrast to Madrid. This UNESCO world heritage site is one of tranquility.

Toledo train station.

It is even more impressive in person.

There is much to see from dungeons dating back to the early 1400’s which were used for torture, to museums displaying instruments of torture, catapults and siege machines. Other museums offer displays of armour worn by the Templar knights participating in battles against the muslims.  There is even a museum devoted to the objects of magic and witchcraft in the Mediterranean and Central Europe from the XVI century to the beginning of the XX century. We saw none of this. We came to walk the up and down cobblestone streets and to see the greatest gothic structure in Europe. All through our walking tour of Madrid references were made over and over to the history of Toledo and the power of its great cathedral.

You can check out our Airbnb by clicking here and then you can click on the photos at the top right. This is a very special place in a Toledano Palace of the XVI century.  It is in a perfect location, located to all that we want to see provided we are happy to meander the cobblestone streets as they go down one hill and up another.  In fact there are few outdoor patio restaurants due to lack of level space.

Our front door is to the left at the bottom of the photo.

Check in was at 3PM and we were there at 11AM so we dumped our luggage  at the apartment as it was being cleaned and started checking out the town. We discovered that for only 6 Euro each, we could take a small tourist train around the perimeter of the city giving us an overall view of the area.

The tall spire beings to the Catedral.

It was just 2PM when our tour was complete and we were hungry. We finally found something just off of the main Plaza de Zocodover that was not fast food. Colin thought that the fish & chips on the menu might be a pleasant change.  That was the fish and those tiny pieces were the chips.  At least he enjoyed the fish.

My brie with smoked salmon blew me away.  The base was a thin piece of toasted bread literally covered with at least 1/4 inch of Brie. Then a thin layer of very nice smoked salmon topped with even more Brie. I was in Brie heaven.  It also came with those tiny paper thin pieces of ‘fries’, all for the same price as Colin’s meal. 9 Euro each and the wine was only 2 Euro for an extremely generous pour.  Fabulous lunch.

So many narrow alleys. The piece of cloth along the top is to help create shade.  We are having unusually high temps here at 33C/90F and the shade was welcomed.

So many lovely lanterns.

Toledo is not only famous as the former Imperial Capital of Spain, but also the center of Damascene Steel making in Spain, which the Spanish inherited from the former Arab rulers during the medieval Period.  Almost every other shop is selling knives or daggers and sometimes medieval armor. The other main tourist product is Marzipan which apparently the local nuns invented.

A very effective stopping mechanism.

And off he goes, once it is clear to proceed.

There are many gates to the city.

The inside part of the famous Gate of Basgra Gate.

The outside of  the gate is of Moorish origin, but the main part was built in 1559 by Alonso de Covarrubias. It carries the coat of arms of the emperor Charles V. It superseded the Puerta Bisagra Antigua as the main entrance to the city.

We did get out to wonderful vegetarian restaurant for dinner that was literally across the street from our apartment.  It had been along day and we wanted something simple. We arrived at 10PM ant others kept coming in until about 11PM.

We ordered a simple veggie burger which turned out to be the best we have had in our 37 years.  The soy burger was handmade and slathered  in onion and mushrooms.  It came with a very lovely salad and coin cut fries which did not taste like deep fired.  An excellent meal.

I was planning to do today and tomorrow in one post but there is too much to share so two posts it is.  We are so happy that we stopped here.





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5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Toledo, Spain”

  1. Maxx Trails says:

    Just from your pictures and write up I know I would love Toledo! That stopping mechanism for vehicles is really interesting, and lunch look very tasty … actually so did dinner 🙂

  2. We never got to Toledo but my Stepson and his GF just were there about 2 weeks ago and loved it. I think anywhere outside of Madrid is much nicer, I really wasn’t impressed by it.

  3. SandyM says:

    Lovely pictures and so much history – so glad you and Colin are enjoying every moment. Your dinner looks delicious but am very curious as to what in the little square dish next to your Berger, looks like there may be fruit in it. Looks very yummy.

  4. Cindy Mensies says:

    So enjoying reading your posts and seeing the pictures Contessa! Thanks so much for sharing!

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