18.11.08 — Travel
Once my days in Madrid had suddenly become numbered, I realised I had been there for over a year and a half and still hadn’t made a trip that most tourists manage to make in the few days that they’re there: a day out to Toledo. Before heading off, though, I had a few days to fill before my dad made his visit, so I spent a few days making a coffee shop tour of the city in order to start work on my new website.
More on aforementioned website antics later, for I was soon down in the south of the city and ready to board the coach to Toledo – a trip which was included in my 20€ monthly travel pass! The Madrid City Council have very much got it right with their approach to public transport. A pretty dull journey followed, with the sky looking worryingly menacing throughout, but the rain held off as I disembarked in the old capital.
For those unfamiliar with the history of these two cities, Toledo was the de facto capital of the area until 1561, when King Carlos II unified the kingdoms of Castile, Leon, and Aragon to create the beginnings of what we’d now call Spain, and moved the capital to Madrid. Toledo went into a pretty steep economic decline after this, which was actually a blessing in disguise, as the city’s old monuments have been frozen in time and now make Toledo the spot to visit.
A lovely addition to the city has to be the set of public escalators installed to take visitors up the side of the hill on which Toledo sits and into the limits of the walled city. I made good and proper use of these, not wanting to exhaust myself before time, and began wandering the ancient streets to see what I might find.
Similarly to my Valencia trip, I hadn’t really done any research or made any plans before heading off to Toledo, and so the plan was to pass through the city to see what I uncovered along the way. I admit that in a city so densely packed with treasures as Toledo this may not have been the cleverest idea, especially as the weather was threatening to dampen my day, but onwards I soldiered, taking in the sights and stopping for a snack along the way.
You’ll notice that I’m neglecting to point out what anything is or explain any of the architecture that I saw along the way, and that’s because I generally avoided the swathes of tourists and hence didn’t get a chance to find out what anything was myself – so you’re just about as clued up as I am! I really wasn’t really in the mood for an intense day, so hopefully you can just enjoy the beauty of the place without knowing too many details just as I did.
With the historical centre of the city being quite small, I’d hit the far end of it all earlier than I expected. The weather had cleared up quite nicely though, and the sun was making an appearance, so I meandered quite leisurely back through the centre and back towards the bus station.
After I’d been disappointed that a bar I wanted to eat at was closed, I decided it was as good a time as any to return towards Madrid, and so bought myself a snack for the hour-long journey back and descended the escalators once more.
Although I did have a lovely day wandering the streets of Spain’s old capital, I think I’ll have to come back for another visit in the future and explore the city in a much more organised fashion. It’s definitely a treasure trove of Spanish history and a must-do for anyone with the opportunity to visit, but for the relaxed day of bar-hopping and lounging around that I’d envisioned, it was just a little too touristic to fit the bill.
Until next time Toledo!