Monday, 18 November 2013

Toledo (& Madrid Part II), Spain: The Medieval Town of Awesomeness!

After a 30 min ride on the high speed train from Madrid I was in Toledo, the capital of Spain during the Visgoths' rule (from the fall of the Roman Empire until the Muslims conquered Spain in the 8th century). Toledo is unbelievably beautiful. It is a true medieval city that looks like it is straight from a movie. Knights on horses would not look out of place. Half of the city is surrounded by high walls and the other half by a river with rocky cliffs, mountains and emptiness beyond these. The city is very famous for making swords and blades... There are only 2 entrances to the city. Not great for traffic flow but it's pretty cool.

Inside the city walls around the main square is packed with tourists during the day and well into the evening. They start to clear out at night as most people just do day trips from Madrid. Apparently 20 percent of all tourists to Madrid will spend one day in Toledo. Madrid is a city of millions, where as Toledo is a city of only 60 to 70 thousand. Although, you would be very surprised how easy it is to get away from tourists. I just walked down the bendy narrow uneven stone streets until I was incredibly lost. That's where I saw a menu del dia for 6 Euro (compared to 12 to 20 Euro in the main squares). Menu del dia (menu of the day) is always 2 plates of food, a beer or bottle of wine and dessert. When I finished I pulled out my map to try find where I was, I didn't even know what quarter of the map I was in and streets are so small. So I just thought I will keep wandering until I find a church or a square.

The following day I walked around the outside of the entire city. I was very surprised that I was alone in most places outside of the city, considering the hundreds of visitors inside. The rocky hills on the opposite side of the river provided spectacular views.

A king with his foot on a decapitated head.

A map of Toledo.

After another quiet night (night life is very limited in Toledo) it was time to return to Madrid to continue on to my next destination.

In Madrid I returned Pepe's place, first Madrid host who also attended my Madrid farewell. He was also hosting 2 Polish girls and a German boy. After getting a couple of 12 packs for less than 3 euro the drinking began. We were due to go to a house party organised by friends of the Polish girls but during the pre-drinks I received news that my pop passed away so I wanted to be alone.

The next afternoon after a lot of walking and a lot of thinking I was off to Merida via Bla Bla Car.

Lessons Learnt:
Some cities are amazingly beautiful.
Some news you can't be prepared for even when expected.
In any city pick a direction when in the centre and walk, then watch the prices drop.

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