Free day in Madrid - Day trip to Toldeo
23.07.2016 - 23.07.2016 31 °C
Hotel - Hotel Villareal, Plaza de las Cortes, 10 Madrid - Room 501
Our tour of Spain and Portugal officially ended yesterday but we have decided to stay one more day in Madrid before we commence our Moroccan adventure by flying to Tangier tomorrow. We thought we might need a day to recover (which we do) but instead we decided to undertake a day trip to Toledo on our own via the very fast train. Toledo has been known historically for the strength of its steel and has been a steel making centre since about 500 BC.
We are exhausted. We have seen EVERYTHING and been EVERYWHERE and have loved every minute of it. Spain and Portugal are beautiful countries - clean, safe and friendly. These trips certainly aren't relaxing holidays - it's always, go, go, go. But we wouldn't have it any other way, as there is so much to see and so little time in which to see it and we wanted to see and experience everything Spain and Portugal has to offer.
This morning was the first morning for a fortnight that we could sleep in and leisurely wander down to breakfast without having to be conscious of having to board the bus at a certain time. About half our group was in there, enjoying a late breakfast and as some people are leaving today, we said goodbye to them.
We caught a taxi down to the station and bought our tickets to Toledo. The round trip for two people was 41 Euros. We were hoping to catch the 10.20 am train, but it was full, so we bought tickets for the 11.20 am one. Just as well, because we had a bit of difficulty trying to find the platform, let alone the level from which our train was leaving. Eventually, we found Platform 15 and sat down and waited to board. We weren't able to purchase an open ticket so chose to come back on the 5.25 pm train because we didn't want to be rushing around Toledo and running out of time.
The train was clean and the trip from Madrid to Toledo on the very fast train took 33 minutes. Even though we were sitting backwards (which doesn't help my motion sickness) it was fine. Why Australia doesn't have a very fast train servicing the entire continent, I'll never know.
When we arrived at the station, there were two Hop On Hop Off buses waiting outside the station, so we bought a ticket and hopped off in the main square.
We walked down to the palace and the cathedral and then wandered for a long time up and down the narrow little streets. Toledo is very hilly and the atmosphere in the old town is lovely.
AND the best news of all, I was able to finally buy my flamenco apron that I spied in Valencia, didn't buy it and haven't seen one since! However, it was 15 Euros in Valencia and only 5 Euros in Toledo! I also saw one at Madrid train station and was intending to buy it on the way home, but it was 10 Euros, so I think I scored a bargain.
We had lunch at a little cafe in the street and this guy was dressed up because he is getting married next week and his mates were taking him out. I'm not quite sure why he was dressed up like that but they were having a good time. We also saw a girl walking around with a veil on her head with her girl friends, but I don't know if she was she fiancee.
We'd seen all we'd wanted to see in Toledo and caught the bus back to the station and were very lucky to be able to exchange our ticket and arrived back in Madrid two hours earlier than we had expected. Now at least I can catch up on a bit of blogging. I am about 11 days behind but have been too busy and tired to concentrate on it.
We still have a couple of complimentary bottles of sweet wine and port to drink so Phil invited Robi and Renata from Canberra and Robert and Pat from Hobart up to a room to help us get rid of them. Then we went to dinner with Robert and Pat to a restaurant called Botin, which, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the oldest restaurant in the world! It is a very popular restaurant and they have two sittings - one a 8 pm and one at 10 pm. We all ordered something different - I had the Speciality of the House Lamb, Phil had the Speciality of the House Fillet Steak, Robert had the Speciality of the House Suckling Pig and Pat had half a grilled chicken. We all enjoyed our meals very much but all we had on our plate was the meat and three potatoes. No vegetables or greens. Quite odd. I also had half a jug of Sangria and could hardly walk when we left the restaurant to walk back to our hotel. Anyway, it was a great way to spend our last night in Spain.
We are being picked up tomorrow morning at 8.35 am for our flight to Tangier.