Best Day of the Trip: Toledo

June 4, 2009

In what is easily the best day of the trip we made our way to Toledo.  Again we started our day in Atoch Station but instead of getting on a regular train we got on to a high speed train.  I have for a long time liked the idea of a high speed train network and this was the first time I have been on a high speed train.  The high speed train was very nice and found the ride smooth.  We made it to Toledo in a half-hour versus the hour it takes to drive it in a car.

Upon arrival in Toledo we started the walk to the old city which sits up on a hill above the surrounding area.

Toledo from below

Toledo from below

River below Toledo

River below Toledo

In order to ease the ability to make it up to the city they have built escalators that bring people up from the new portions to the old fortified portions of the city.  We used the ones in the still under construction, Palacio de Congresos de Toledo.

Last Escalator of Palacio de Congresos de Toledo

Last Escalator of Palacio de Congresos de Toledo

Once up in the old city the streets became much narrower.  There are many shades throughout the city that hang over the streets creating a really nice environment to walk through.

Streets of Toledo with Catedral

Streets of Toledo with Catedral

We proceeded to the Catedral de Santa Maria de Toledo and proceeded around to the front.

Catedral de Santa Maria de Toledo

Catedral de Santa Maria de Toledo

From there we continued to the Sinogaga del Transito before taking a break at the Escaleras de la Granja.

Sinagoga del Transito

Sinagoga del Transito

The Escaleras de las Granja is one of the new sets of escalators that transports people up to the city.  These are unique because they are set into the hillside and are covered by cantilevered concrete slabs.

Escaleras de la Granja

Escaleras de la Granja

On Escaleras de la Granja

On Escaleras de la Granja

It was during the lunch break that perhaps the best part of the trip happened.  We went into what looked like a small store for wood items but as we talked to the guy who owned the store we learned he was a master-craftsman who has had this same shop in his family for over 1,000 years.  There was still an old-fashioned grindstone on the way down to the basement where he showed us what the original street level of Toledo had been.

Master-craftsman's Workshop

Master-craftsman's Workshop

Original Street Level of Toledo

Original Street Level of Toledo

As we were talking to him he started to say he knew the Obama of Spain.  We were slightly confused until we realized that he meant he knew the King of Spain, and not only knew but was good friends with having made a staff as well as currently working on a crest.  He showed us a picture of him with the King as we all were completely amazed by this.  When we asked if there was something small we could buy he told us that he does not sell stuff but instead gives gifts, where he went to the back and pulls out an old photo of the city which he gave to us.

After meeting perhaps one of the coolest people in the world we went back to do a little shopping in the main district.  Toledo is known for their steelwork and we proceeded to find a store that has some of the most amazing swords I have ever seen.

Toledo Steelwork

Toledo Steelwork

Then we proceeded out of the old city of Toledo to a new archive building.  We had a guided tour where we learned about the many faults that the Archivo de Castilla-La Mancha.  The main lobby is a large open space which they have yet to use and costs a ton to heat.  The single worst part is when we were up in the archives and we saw the failure in the fire-barriers.  The wall against the lobby is a zig-zag of glass that sits about 6″ from the dividing wall that is meant to seal off one archive room from the other.

Archivo de Castilla-La Mancha

Archivo de Castilla-La Mancha

We finished off the day by heading back to go in the Catedral.

Interior of Catedral de Santa Maria de Toledo

Interior of Catedral de Santa Maria de Toledo

That was the end of classes as we got on the train to head back to Madrid.  On the way we talked to David about places to go out and get good Tapas, a traditional Spanish meal consisting of a series of appetizers-like plates that are shared among the table.  When we got back we headed out to what was some one of the best meals of the trip.  We has some blood sausage before the professors showed up.  They chatted with us for a little bit before we finished up and headed out to ice cream.  The place we went was around the corner from the Tapas place and was some of the best ice cream ever.

That was the end of one of the best days of the trip.

Photos of Toledo

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.