Toledo, Spain!

This past weekend three of my friends, and myself, took a day trip to Toledo. We had heard before that it was a cute little town that I had to visit while I was staying in Madrid. It is a small town about an hour south of Madrid, with a rich history. A girl from one of my classes had mentioned that you can get there by a bus that is super cheap. She told me what metro stop to buy the tickets at, so on Friday, Kat, Melissa, and myself ventured over to that metro stop. We got off and were completely lost. We were definitely in a bus station but had no clue where to buy tickets for the trip or what bus to do buy it for. But eventually we saw a window that said taquilla (ticket window) with a sign on it that said “toledo.” So, we bought our tickets there and were ready for the next adventure.

Saturday morning, we got to the bus station early enough before the departing time, 9am. My friend John, the night before, had decided he wanted to come, so he had bought a ticket late and barely made the bus. We all made it on the bus and the drive was a little over 45 minutes. An hour later, we pull into what seems to be Toledo and we all look out the window and see nothing but land and a couple of buildings. We all looked at each other and thought, “what the f*** did we get ourselves into.” But, we had faith in this trip and we wanted an adventure. We knew this was surely going to be another exciting adventure (especially because we had no idea where the hell we were). We got off the bus, and started walking. We chose to not buy a map. We thought it would be more fun to get lost and explore than follow a map the entire day. We did know that we wanted to see the Alcazar, which is the famous castle at the top of the hill. So, we start a trek up this huge hill and come across what seems to be a stone archway. It looked like an entrance to a castle (see pic below).

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Well, it turns out the entire city is encased with these huge stone walls. It was extremely medieval looking, with buildings that looked like castles. We felt like we were walking through an old medieval city. Clueless as to where we were going, we stumbled upon this doorway that led to a little courtyard with a garden. We start walking through the courtyard and come across these beautiful (FREE) art galleries. So we spent a couple hours walking through these galleries with art from Goya and other famous spanish artists. After we looked at these paintings, we continued on with our clueless journey. We walked and found a little town with some shopping, restaurants, and souvenir shops.  I bought this really cute quilted jacket at one of the shops. As we were walking, we found the city’s beautiful cathedral. But before we could tour the cathedral, we needed to eat. We stopped at this spanish cafe and all got burgers (typical american meal). After lunch we went back to the cathedral and walked in. We sat inside for a couple minutes taking it all in.

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the cathedral

the cathedral

After seeing the cathedral, we continued on and came across another museum (hoping it would take us to the Alcazar). We were on a mission to find this castle thing. It didn’t look like we were in the right place, so I walked up the lady at the ticket window and asked, in spanish, where the Alcazar was. There was a map of the city behind her and she turns around points to the furthest point left and then points to the furthest point to the right on the map. She didn’t need to speak a word to me, but I turned around to all my friends and we just started laughing. We were at the complete opposite end of the city. So, the nice lady gave me directions in spanish and we continued on. As we were walking to other end of the city, I stumpled upon a Menorah and a couple of other words in Hebrew written on the floor. I had seen a sign that said “sinagogas” and knew that I was near the Jewish part of Toledo. I was so excited! So, I followed the signs and found the Jewish part!

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After getting in my Jewish spanish culture for the day, we continued on to find the Alcazar. We finally came up to a Museo de Ejercito (an army museum). We walked in and asked where we could tour the Alcazar, but there was one problem. The Alcazar was not a thing you could tour, it was just something to look at, and we had passed it several times already. After we realized that this museum was free for students, we decided to walk through the museum (because it was free). We walked in and it had remains of the Alcazar (the famous castle) with watchtowers and windows still in tact.

Alcazar remains

Alcazar remains

After the museum it was about 4 in the afternoon, and we were all exhausted. We walked back to the bus station and got on the next bus that was leaving back to Madrid. Toledo, was definitely a beautiful medieval city, that had so much history and culture. I was so happy to be able to spend a day in such a city.

Yesterday, Sunday, was superbowl Sunday. The game didn’t start until about 1am Madrid time. But of course, we were determined to stay up for the game. We had gone to a couple bars but ended back at home, where we saw the spaniards hanging out. We began watching a live stream of the game around 1am, in the living room, and the spaniards really wanted an explanation as to what the superbowl was and what football was.  It is a lot harder to explain than I had thought but it was cute to see that they were so interested in one of the biggest things the American culture watches on TV. The game ended around 5am Madrid time and of course I fell asleep before the end of it. But, it was definitely a superbowl to remember. So far, I have no regrets on this adventure and am beyond thankful to do all the things that I have done.  Next stop: Granada, Portugal and Barcelona! Thanks for reading!!

besos y abrazos

Alli

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