Friday, April 18, 2014


Blue skies again this morning!  We've had beautiful weather so far in Spain-sunny skies and around 80 every day.

We've had to adjust our normal routine and schedule for this trip, as Spain seems to be a "late to bed and late to get up" kind of country--exact opposite of our usual schedule.  People in Spain eat dinner at about 9:30-10 PM, which is most definitely late for us!

We didn't get a very early start this morning, as nothing much is open before 9 or 10 AM, but we did find a small cafe open for breakfast.  The streets were quiet and lovely this morning:

We had a couple of eggs,  some thin sliced Iberico ham, and a baguette--which they pretty much consider an "American breakfast" here.  It also came with fries--which we left on our plate!  We are seeing the locals eating mostly a pastry and coffee for breakfast, but that doesn't appeal to us.

Our plan for the day was to visit the Catedral de Santa Maria de Toledo, which is the huge church where the Semana Santa processions start.  We missed that today, as it has a different schedule for visits on Good Friday, so we moved on to our next choice, the Alcazar.

Pretty street scene and passage way on our way to the Alcazar:

 A statue honoring Cervantes and the 400th anniversary of the publication of his "Don Quixote"

We walked through a pretty park, and some amazing views across the river, we're not sure what this castle is, but it's beautiful!

The Alcazar de Toledo was a huge stone fort and palace built on the highest point in Toledo.  There was originally a 3rd century Roman palace built on the site.  The Alcazar was built in the mid 1500's, was almost completely destroyed during the 1936 Spanish Civil War, and was reconstructed in 1940's.  It became the home of the National Army Museum in 1961.

The new construction and museum remodel is great--they preserved the ancient Roman ruins as well as those from the 15th century Alcazar, and built the museum around and over it:

There was a wide range of military arms--everything from medieval armor to modern day Patriot missiles, strangely enough.  Here are just a few of our favorites:

I loved the detail work on this old pistol:

This armored horse and knight was interesting:

Great ram's horn detail on the horse head armor:

Several horse head armor:

We spent quite awhile looking at the various exhibits, and then found ourselves at the outdoor patio and restaurant.  We thought it was definitely against "Travelin' Lundbury" rules to pass up a chance to enjoy a view like this:

A Patriot Missile on one side……..

And this on the other side--beautiful view over the rooftops of Toledo and the valley below:

We relaxed on the patio with a cold Coke Light and a small dish of delicious olives, then continued on with our visit to the museum.  

Next up:  The Museo De Santa Cruz, where there was a special El Greco exhibit.  It was amazing, and we both were fascinated with his work--what a master!  I was somewhat familiar with his landscape paintings, but had no idea he was such an amazing portrait artist.  My favorite was a self portrait displayed at the beginning--for some strange reason it almost moved me to tears.  Incredible talent.  No photos were allowed inside the exhibit, but we were able to take some photos of the museum grounds--which were just beautiful.

We exited into a beautiful courtyard, complete with olive trees:

The walkways were lined with ancient artifacts from the Toledo area:

This remnant of a mosaic floor was absolutely stunning:

Loved the fish detail in the middle:

Amazingly, the colors are still vibrant and beautiful:

This face was incredible:

After a couple of hours marveling at El Greco's masterpieces, we were suffering from sensory overload!  We decided we'd walk to main entrance of the city walls, looking for a place to have lunch along the way.  What we hadn't counted on was the massive crowds of people--all looking for lunch at the same time we were!  It took us quite a while to find a spot for lunch, and we finally settled for a small restaurant and bar near the old wall, where we each had ribs and fries with an ice cold Coke Light.  Not exactly gourmet dining--but we were thankful to find any place to sit!

Here's David at the entrance to the tower at the main gate, LOVE the door!

Detail above the interior door:

Looking back at the towers and gate (outside the walls, looking in)

Another view down the outside of the wall--including guard towers:

We crossed the busy main road outside the gate, and took a stroll through a pretty park:

Interesting building in the park--not quite sure what it is:

By now it was early evening, and we had walked miles and miles.  Up hill and down hill--but it certainly seemed like mostly UP hill! We were just plain tired--so we decided to call it a day.  We walked back through the city gates, and walked along the wall for a while, passing through a guard tower:

We wound our way through the narrow lanes, took a few wrong turns, and managed to get thoroughly lost!  Finally, we found a familiar street, and eventually ended up at our hotel--hot, tired and maybe a little cranky!

We had a good laugh at ourselves, and agreed that we'd relax at our hotel this evening.  Dinner tonight?  A power bar, diet Coke and a bag of almonds--we were way too tire to go out!

Tomorrow in Toledo:  A vist to the Cathedral, and who knows what else!

1 comment:

  1. David in front of that Yes, dinner is late...9 to 10 p.m....loved the siestas...don Quixote...I have a Valencia girl in lladro. U were never rushed when eating your evening meal either. It was a slow pace with hours sitting at your table talking if u so desired. I love seeing all of this again....