Spain (Day 11)

October 31

Madrid – Toledo – Madrid

Our last day in Spain . . . 

[Before we left our Cordoba hotel room, I had to get a picture of the ubiquitous Honeywell thermostat, for “Weakie” . . . ]

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[And a final photo of the art, for me . . . ]

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[In the lobby, doing a final social media check before heading out to Madrid . . . ]

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[The place had a nice lobby . . . ]

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[At the train station . . . ]

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[For the 250 mile trip north to Madrid . . . ]

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[Another high speed ride . . . ]

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[Our hotel in Madrid . . . ]

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[Checking our neighborhood . . . ]

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[In search of, of course, fine dining . . . ]

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[And fine dining would be incomplete without . . . ]

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[Then off to a familiar neighborhood from our visit here a week ago . . . ]

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[Nepune Fountain . . . ]

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[Where we would meet our bus . . . ]

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[For the 45 mile ride south to Toledo . . . ]

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[Exiting Madrid . . . ]

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[A drive-by of Catedral de Sta Maria la Real de la Almudena . . . ]

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[Cityscape . . . ]

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[And the cathedral again . . . ]

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[And we passed the Dear Hotel where we stayed in Madrid the previous week . . . ]

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[On the road again . . . ]

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[Unknown – somewhere along “the road again ‘ . . . ]

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[Toledo is a city and municipality located in central Spain; it is the capital of the province of Toledo.  Toledo was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive monumental and cultural heritage.  Toledo is known as the “Imperial City,” and as the “City of the Three Cultures” for the cultural influences of Christians, Muslims and Jews reflected in its history.  Toledo has a long history in the production of bladed weapons, which are now common souvenirs from the city.  As of 2015, the city had a population of 83,226 and an area of 232.1 km2(89.6 sq mi) (Wikipedia).]

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[The photo above is mine.  Here’s the story:  In 2001, a firm designed a series of escalators and covered walkways from an underground garage into and through the ancient walls.  Instead of one very long escalator, as was used in Medellin, Columbia, recently to climb a quarter mile into the hillside slums, the architects planned a total of 6 differently angled ones protected from the elements and taking advantage of the views. Their international award-wining project won the Elevator World – Project of the Year Award for 2002/2003.  To build the escalator meant a section of the centuries-old fortifications had to be bulldozed so the old and new could meld into an unobtrusive and sculptural egress.  I cringe at the thought of the initial destruction, their medieval ramparts breached by shiny stainless steel, but the resulting structure is simply astounding!  It works!  The reconstructed walls look as if no stones were touched, while the escalators sinuously wind their way through and behind them.  At peak usage, as many as 40,000 people a day ride those escalators. It is an amazing accomplishment (http://travelingboy.com/) The following 4 photos are also from that website, and we were delighted we didn’t have to climb stairs to the top.]

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[Back to me again, we’re at the top . . . ]

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[The Plaza de Zocodover is the city square.  It was the nerve center of the city during most of its history, acting as its main square.  Here horses, donkeys, foals, mares, mules and other beasts were sold, when the city of Toledo was Spanish-Muslim city.  It has been celebrating for centuries, it is a weekly market (Wikipedia).]

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[And it looks like it’s going to be party time . . . ]

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[But it also looks like rain . . . ]

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[Walking down this lovely pedestrian way toward the Toledo Cathedral . . . ]

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[And various views thereof . . . ]

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[The Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo, a Roman Catholic church, is the seat of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Toledo.  The cathedral of Toledo is one of the three 13th-century High Gothic cathedrals in Spain and is considered, in the opinion of some authorities, to be the magnum opus of the Gothic style in Spain.  It was begun in 1226 under the rule of Ferdinand III and the last Gothic contributions were made in the 15th century when, in 1493, the vaults of the central nave were finished during the time of the Catholic Monarchs.  It was modeled after the Bourges Cathedral, although its five naves plan is a consequence of the constructors’ intention to cover all of the sacred space of the former city mosque with the cathedral, and of the former ‘sahn’ with the cloister.  The spectacular incorporation of light and the structural achievements of the ambulatory vaults are some of its more remarkable aspects.  It is built with white limestone from the quarries of Olihuelas, near Toledo (Wikipedia).]

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[The Town Hall in Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Cathedral Square . . . ]

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[A walking tour around the cathedral . . . ]

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[The tower was designed and built mostly by Alvar Martínez; it is Gothic, with some decorative Mudéjar influence and reaches a height of 92 m (301 ft) (Wikipedia).]

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[We did not go in the cathedral.  It was either closed, or too expensive based on time constraints . . . ]

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[The Jewish quarter of Toledo is a district of the city, in Castile-La Mancha.  It was the neighborhood in which the Jews lived in the Middle Ages, although they were not obliged to live within it.  The Jewish community of Toledo which became, in the 12th and 13th centuries, the most populous and rich of the Kingdom of Castile.  And coexists for centuries, more or less peacefully, with Muslims and Christians, in which it would be called city of the three cultures (Wikipedia).]

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[Bill checks the city map . . . ]

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[In the red light district?]

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[Not likely in a “red light” district . . . ]

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[It’s a pastry shop . . . ]

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[Mazapan de Toledo . . . ]

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[In Spain, various convents of cloistered nuns are keeping centuries-old traditions of dessert-making alive with their sweets, marmalades, chocolates and more . . .(tastingtable.com)]

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[And Bill & I say our final good-byes to Spanish beer . . . ]

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[Working our way back to the bus, we had to fend off more rain . . . ]

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[On what otherwise would be a pretty setting . . . ]

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[You can always stop at a candy shop for protection from the rain . . . ]

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[Yummy!]

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[(Hmmm, I wonder how many Spanish ham sandwiches I could hide in my suitcase?)]

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[Shooting, out of focus, back at the cathedral tower . . . ]

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[Acitivities appear unscathed by the weather . . . ]

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[Escalators – going down?]

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[Back on the flatland where we would catch our bus . . . ]

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[The bus circled the city on the way back to Madrid.  It would have made for a lot of great photos if the bus windows hadn’t been streaked by rainfall . . . ]

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[Adios España!! The last photo in Spain.  Your next selection of family vacation slides will likely occur in July, featuring Norway and the British Isles.  I know you can hardly wait.]

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We’ve come up against the church, Sancho.  ~  Don Quixote

Up Next:  Spring sports?

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