Thursday, November 19, 1998
I took the Metro down to Palos de la Frontera to catch a bus to Toledo, only to find that the bus station had moved to Mendez Alvaro. This glitch cost me an hour or so plus Metro fare.
The route to Toledo is pretty uninteresting, (almost like the "other" Toledo.) mostly industrial and irrigated farms. The landscape is flat with mesas and plateaus in the distance. The villages along the way were pretty dull and lacked architectural appeal.
From the first sight of Toledo, I knew it was a special place. The sight of domes and spires on the hilltop were so unlike the generic villages we passed on the way. It almost looks like it was built just for tourists to marvel at.
Entering the walled city of Toledo
I hiked the grueling two miles or so up into town from the bus station because I didn't want to miss anything. I finally found a posada that wasn't full (Pension Nuncio Viejo, #19 Nuncio Viejo). My hotel window overlooked the cathedral. The couple who owns the hotel seemed nice, especially the woman. I asked her for the key to the terrazzo and the views were phenomenal. The rooms in Spain are very nominal, a bed or two, a bath down the hall, and little or no decor in the room.
Toledo's Cathedral from the roof
I took a long walk in the afternoon. My mission was to find a train station to see if the trains went anywhere other than Madrid (they don't). I ended up getting lost in the labyrinth of streets in Toledo -- some are narrow enough to touch both sides at once. Crossing the bridge over the Tagus River provided a fairy-tale view of one of the entrances to the walled city of Toledo. It didn't even look real.
A view from the bridge over the Tagus River
Toledo is layered in history -- Roman structures under Moorish structures under Christian structures, and filled in with modern services in the ancient buildings.
I went out for beer after the requisite siesta and I really scored on the tapas -- nuts, olives, tiny pieces of ham on tiny pieces of bread came with every beer. I was also offered large quantities of sardines and calamari (with extra tentacles!) but I declined. Three good beers and all that food for 600 ptas. Very nice.