Today I took a day trip to Toledo, which is a half hour train ride away from Madrid. FYI, in Spain you have to reserve almost every train ride you want to take, and they do sell out, so what I’m trying to do is reserve all the trains I need to to a week or two in advance at the train station. Then you know you’re in… So, Toledo. It’s a really interesting town that’s been inhabited by Christians, Jews and Arabs over the centuries. What that means is that there’s an interesting flavour of cultures here. There are cathedrals, mosques and synagogues scattered throughout the town, but to be honest I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked here, so I only saw a couple of them. It’s a hill town so prepare to do some walking, and navigating! I felt like I was in a corn maze in this place! I actually met a very nice couple from The Netherlands while asking for directions, so getting lost is sometimes good and can lead to a nice chat!
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In my opinion, Toledo has way too many souvenir chachka shops that all sell pretty well the same stuff. And not good stuff, but cheap junky knock-offs. There seems to be an abundance of knives, suits of armour, crests and swords for sale here as well. I didn’t really get a chance to figure out why that is, but when I have time I’ll google it, unless someone out there might know? Another thing I saw a lot of was Marzipan, or “Mazapan” as I saw it spelled. I’ve never been a big fan of marzipan, and to be honest I’m not sure if Spain’s sweets and pastries are doing it for me either. Compared to France, the Spaniards seem to make everything sweeter, heavier, deep fry it and cover it with icing. I was spoiled in France, I had some fabulous pastries that were light as air and melted in your mouth. I’m going back to the market tomorrow so I’ll give them another shot, it’s the least I can do… hee
Gorgeous Biscuiterie in Toledo. They had these chocolate covered almonds that looked exactly like olives! See the foodie tab for pics.
That’s not a knife. Now THIS is a knife!
I think beer makes him happy.
I was wandering around getting royally lost when I came across this fascinating little museum. It was a museum of torture devices from the Spanish Inquisition. I have this thing about weird, dark, macabre things, so I was intrigued. It was a really fabulous little museum, and what I learned from visiting it was that I’m glad the rules have changed since then, otherwise I may have had the same fate as Joan of Arc. The Heretics, the heretics! The world has certainly changed a lot in 500 years!
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This was a Mask of Shame. They had everything from the Iron Maiden to The Rack, plus a lot of things I’d never seen before that made me shudder…
This is Iglesia de los Jesuitas. I climbed to the top of the tower to get a beautiful view of the city.
The view. So gorgeous!
I’ve never seen so many nuns and priests in one place before. They were everywhere! I was following these ladies for a while and couldn’t resist taking a photo.
I found this neat little place for lunch, a real hole in the wall. They had the TV playing a Spanish soap opera. It was perfect. I had a Jamon sandwich. They are all about “The Jamon” here. I love it, but I am a lover of the cured meats… The thing is, the sandwiches I’ve had in Spain so far are good, but there’s no butter, mayo, lettuce, pickle or anything! It’s meat and bun. That’s it. She did offer me some tomato, so I took it, but I remember my home-ec teacher teaching us about sandwiches in school, and being the immature 15 year olds we were, we thought her saying that the butter was for “lubrication” was hilarious. Actually, I still think it’s hilarious….
It seems when in Spain a beer is the obvious beverage!
The Cathedral. It’s huge, so huge I couldn’t get the whole thing in one shot. I ran out of time and didn’t go in, but I’m starting to have church burnout, so I’m going to try and give them a rest for a few days.
So we had a major electrical storm last night, and the weather held up all day until about 5:00 when the torrents came down! Wow, I haven’t seen it rain that hard since I was in Jamaica. It started raining again when I got back to Madrid, and I was laughing because the people were just taking cover and waiting for it to pass. In Vancouver you could wait forever for that to happen.
Scary baby with scary hair-do, back in Madrid.
I had a killer meal tonight at the Mercado. I think this market is in the Top 5 of my favourite things I’ve done so far. It’s so busy that I almost gave up trying to find a spot to settle in, but I was patient and found my place at the bar. Oh yeah, did I mention that there are no stools or anything? You just stand there and nosh. I had a plate of shrimp that were truly to die for. Butter, cracked pepper and fleur de sel. That’s it, so good. I had a nice glass of white wine with it, it was perfection! Next I tried a Picho Tomato. It’s a fried tomato with smoked cod and salmon on top. Yum. Then I wandered around seeing what else I could try.
I love olives, so I tried a selection here. They were little skewers with cheese, meat and olives.I really hope the market is open tomorrow. It’s Good Friday, so I’m not sure if anything will be open, and my train doesn’t leave until 10:30 pm! That’s a full day In Madrid on a religious holiday. I’ll let you know how that goes…
This is a church in Madrid that was having a pre-Good Friday celebration. I just thought it was pretty.