On Monday (Lunes), 6 Junio, we walked north to La Tienda Verde, a very cool map and travel bookstore. We had a nice time looking at maps, and found one of Spain and Portugal, because we could not find the one that came with Rick Steves' book. Of course, once we returned to our apartment, we found the Rick Steves map. Isn't that always the way? We continued our long walk to a store called Taste of America, because we're going to be here awhile and we couldn't find popcorn! Bought a nice big bottle of Orville Redenbacher's. It was a necessary purchase!
The weather is becoming nice and warm, in the high 80s-low 90s, not nearly as warm as Phoenix is currently. But there's more humidity here, and a walk during mid-day leaves one very damp. Siesta is between 2 and 4 p.m. (14:00 and 16:00), when many of the stores and restaurants close. Mike and I have been enjoying that time to return to our apartment, cool off, and maybe nap or read until we go out again.
We live very near the sweetest little park called Plaza Olivades. It's surrounded by tapas and cerveza (beer) bars that are busy after 7 p.m. until at least 11 p.m., which is as late as Mike and I have ever been out walking around. The plaza itself is where people from the neighborhood go with their children and dogs. In the evenings, we enjoy sitting on a bench watching the kids play futbal and the dogs (off leash!) run around, while neighbors visit with each other. Sunset is at 9:45 p.m.
We got up early on 7 Junio, Martes, and took the Metro over to the train station. There, we rode the 7:20 a.m. 30-minute train ride to Toledo. This small ancient city has been around for 2,500 years and has a complicated history involving Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, Berbers, the Roman Catholic Church, and Jews. It sits atop a hill surrounded by a river and remnants of a Roman wall. The Gothic cathedral is in the center of the city. We spent a few hours in the cathedral, marveling at the architecture (Holy Toledo! It took 267 years to build!) and the art, especially the great collection of El Grecos paintings. Next, we visited the small EL Greco Museum. This painter spent much of his life in Toledo.
By then, the weather was stifling and the museum was not air conditioned, so we didn't dally long. Instead, we enjoyed a long and pleasant lunch break at an outdoor cafe. Before walking back to the train sation, we visited the Sefardi Museum, which is Spain's national Jewish museum, then walked higher up to the Alcazar fortress to see the city view.
These two seniors slept very well that night. We had walked almost 8 miles, and it was a long day.
The next day, 8 Junio, Miercoles, we slept late, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and did some laundry. We spent the day walking around our neighborhood happily aimless (aimlessly happy?), then made dinner at home. About 9 p.m., we walked half a mile to get frozen yogurt cones, which we consumed while sitting on a bench in front of a playground, watching children wear their parents out!
Today we wandered over to Estacion de Chamberi, an old metro station in our neighborhood, opened in 1919, closed in 1966, and reopened as a museum in 2008. It was cool, literally and figuratively, to walk down several flights of stairs to the underground station and wander around. We watched a movie in Spanish about the station's history, the gist of which we were able to get thanks to subtitles (in Spanish). It is easier for us to read Spanish and understand than to hear it and understand. The present day metro still passes through here but doesn't stop. There are plexiglass panels along the walkway where the train goes by. The old signage along the walls was interesting.....Portland Cement, Longine Watches.
We ended this day in our neighborhood by visiting the Museo Sorolla, dedicated to the artist Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923). The museum is located in what was once the artist's lovely home. What a marvelous gallery of his work.
We stopped by the Cafe Benito for a big meal at 3 p.m. We both had delicious gazpacho. Mike had Bistec Plancha (very thin grilled steak) and I had Mera Plancha (grilled grouper). We each had flan for dessert. These meals came with excellent crusty bread, and beer for Mike, mineral water for me. All for 10.50 euros each.