The Early Bird Gets Toledo

On Sunday I was up at the break of dawn, which, in Spain, happens to be 8 a.m.  I was online and happened to chat with Emily, a fellow TA–What was she was up to? She responded that she was headed to Toledo for the day, would I like to join her? An hour to Toledo, and we were seizing the walled city as our own.

Climbing for great views

Guidebook Toledo is a tale of marzipan, churches, and cobblestone slopes. Our 4-person group experienced all three of these things, but, in our minds, the city was defined more by the people we met. Janel had contacted a local couchsurfer named Alvaro, and he had agreed to show us around his town. After the four of us played tourist for a few hours, Alvaro, his girlfriend, and their two friends met up with us. Our eight-person group traipsed to Bar Ludeña, where we got to chatted for hours over lunch.

Instead of opting for the menu del dia we followed Alvaro’s recommendations of racciones. This way we split many different dishes, and nearly everything was new to us guiris. We had a mixed plate of jamon serrano y queso curado (high-class ham and cheese), picadillo de morcilla (a dish with pig’s blood and onion), salmorejo (a cold soup), patatas y ciervo (french fries with deer), asadillo manchego (a dish with piquillo peppers and boiled eggs and tuna), carcamusa (a pork dish in tomato sauce), and tortilla espanola drenched in a sauce of tomatoes and peas.

One saucy tortilla

Cold, colorful salmorejo

Asadillo manchego is also served cold

After lunch, where else did we have coffee but a church that functions as a bar during the day and a discoteca at night. The interior was truly impressive, as was the coffee, which was made out of equal parts espresso, whiskey, and whipped cream.

Our group chats over coffee

Dreamy drink at the Círculo de Bellas Artes

Wandering the steep, twisting roads in Toledo yields many picturesque spots.

Our trip coincided with street performances. I didn’t understand the scene, but they threw lettuce at the end.

To round out our trip, our new friends drove us in their cars outside of the city so that we could capture the sweeping views. Here you can see the River Tajo, which makes an appearance in many works of Spanish lit.

Toledo today, Madrid tomorrow

After resting at one last bar, we decided to try to make it to the bus station to catch the bus at 8 p.m. Alvaro drove us to the station, and we sprinted the rest of the way. Our ride was still in sight! However, once we tried to climb aboard, we were told that the bus was full. We late birds got Toledo for twenty more minutes while we waited for another bus to fill up. Then, it was back to Madrid and g’bye Toledo.

Note: This post comes courtesy of the strike, as it has given me time to update my blog.

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  1. Sounds like an incredible day! Ironic how I heard about it through your blog before hearing your tales about the trip–that means it has been too long since we’ve caught up! As always the pictures are incredible. And I would be interested in knowing where this church/coffee shop/discoteca is…

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