Monday, January 27, 2014

1/27/14 Day 11 Toledo

Today we are going to Toledo with Alberto and his friend, Natalia. We are up fed and out of the house by 9a.m., only about an hour southwest by car and we are in beautiful Toledo. This city is known for producing some of the best weaponry; knives, swords, and shears are presented to eager tourists in every shop it seems.
We are here not for the weapons but the beautiful historical city architecture, the walls, synagogues, mosques and churches. Oh and also the Greco museum, which we find out quickly is closed on Mondays, so back to the architectural focus. As for the mosques and synagogues, they pretty much all charge entry fees, so we enjoy them from outside, after all the town is mostly about defense and the best defense is the outer buildings anyways. We zigzag our way through the city and up and down staircases looking at turrets and aged brick all day.

Finally finding ourselves a tourist information center we get a map and visual confirmation that yes all of the types of churches in town cost money...except for the Greco museum that is closed Monday, two other things that are also closed and one museum, Santa Cruz that is free and open, but out of the way and not well known. By now it is 1 p.m. And we are hungry so we find a small bar and order ourselves bocadillos (sandwiches made with a large baguette) and sangria, followed by coffee and an hour or so of conversation. Once we finally were ready for some more exploring we ventured back outside into the sunshine and blue skies that we were accompanied by. We find the library which should have a viewpoint cafe at the top. Half expecting to pay an entrance fee for that too we walk in and find an elevator waiting to take us to the top. Going all the way to the top we find a beautiful view from three different balconies and better yet No pressure to even buy anything from the cafe. After a quick view we head back down the nine stories. 
Wandering aimlessly in the direction of beautiful buildings we find ourselves luckily in front of Santa Cruz museum, the one free open thing in Toledo today, perfect we thought! Little did we know that it is only free because it is where the leftovers from other better museums and churches go to rot. The paintings and art were all famous biblical scenes but not versions done by a famous painter simply alternatives. The benches were all mismatched and awkward and all of the sculptures were broken; missing arms, hands, and facial features. The whole place seemed so ridiculous after spending this week in the Reina Sofia and the Prado. But we had fun doing it nonetheless. After more castle sightseeing we headed towards the river Tejo. 
We walk along the riverside path climbing in and around some of the ruins enjoying the beautiful day until the sun starts to sink and the warmth begins to fade. 
Meandering back over and down the hills to city center where we parked the car we drive back to madrid for a last dinner and bottle of wine in the city. 
Beautiful Toledo. 

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