Viva Espana! travel blog

Iconic Dunking Coffee

People, streets, even their trees are skinny...

Tower of Toledo Cathedral from afar

Catedral de Toledo still represents a dominating Catholic Spain, proven by it's...

Cause that looks safe...

Motoring through Toledo!!

Best view of the city

What a view, Toledo is surrounded on the West, South, and East...

Toledo water fountain


Up and at ‘em early… but after the morning rush. We take the metro across the city to the bus station which will get us to Toledo in about 45-60 minutes and with a round trip price of less than $15, deal of the day!! While in the bus station, I notice that a spokesperson for “Dunkin Coffee” & Bake Place (aka Dunkin Donuts) is the lady from the chariot we saw in Ciebeles Plaza yesterday… if you look closely, you can see why, despite her being a statue, is a likely and appropriate spokesperson: in her hands, she holds donuts and coffee and she doesn’t even eat or drink!! We navigate it perfectly and take a pleasant ride down to the city of Toledo, which I am pretty excited for given the history and cultural mix of the city. We arrive just outside of the city and taxi up the VERY steep hills to the center of the city.

The streets are so narrow (even the trees here are narrow, perhaps it’s something in the water or air), and every turn is a windy hilly one it seems… some streets just wide enough for 3 or 4 people to walk along side… it kills the abilities for a good picture representing the distance, depth, and beauty, but it is a fantastic experience. We find our way down to the church which is HUGE, beyond belief… the clash of the religions in this part of Spain is noteworthy, it is about the point where the last of the real Arab push came… and Toledo holds Islam, Judaism, and Christianity blocks away from one another, intimately intertwined and still diabolically opposed. Nonetheless, the history remains and the cultures continue to exist, much more peacefully that proven in the past.

The church and plaza are all awesome, but likely me two favorite things (tongue in cheek) in Toledo are in no order: a mini motoring through the hilly streets and a man, on a tall ladder, drilling into stone… Given the safety situation, I thought I was back in Thailand for a moment, you know, where they jackhammer barefooted or in sandals…

A little window shopping, where we witnessed some really good psychological warfare…

Where are you from we are asked…

Our reply of course is the US.

Oh, the US, some of my best customers are the from the US (note, she just set the inclusive/exclusive structure… we are currently part of a group that is the best, but will we rise to meet that status… Will an indirect compliment lure us in?? She hopes so!!) She goes on to tell us why US loves it here, prices good… ;o

We nod and acknowledge what she has told us

She inquires about our interest and knowledge on the product (gauging her next tactic I am sure)

I purposely give an apathetic answer to show neither interest nor disinterest. There is a chance that I may buy something here, but since you are escorted around this store, I am trying to position myself tactically

She offers shipping as an option to ensure the protection of your valuable treasures, some of which are only available in Spain… (pitch to increase the stakes as these are rare and hence, more collectable)

As we head around the store, I am appreciative of the explanations, however, I am not going to persuaded by her, instead I stand my ground and make an educated decision.

When I tell her of my decision, she responds, “is that all?” To which my father responded with a line or two that poked at her statement… which she acknowledged with an uncomfortable laugh…

When we end up back downstairs, she meets us there and tries to convince me to get something for myself, first a big pendant, then a smaller pendant, then some earrings all, apparently, hand hammered in admittedly excruciating detail by her father. Luckily for me, I wore no jewelry except earrings, so I just told her I don’t wear any but thank you… She followed up with perhaps a small display plate which was very heavy which it should be for real yellow and white gold of high quality. Regardless, the small plate that fit in the palm of my hand was about 350€ which is about $500…

I politely thanked her, told her it was beautiful, and then thanked her again for showing me. Ha! I won… I think… or did I?!?!?! I did walk out having purchased something... ;)

Anyway, a great day walking the city and now it’s time to depart… but not before we take the opportunity to take some pictures from a vantage point that overlooks the city… Out taxi driver was very nice,… talking to us about the history and making sure we get the best of views to take a picture, which is, admittedly, the only way to truly capture Toledo. Back into our Mercedes taxi and off we go, to the bus station back to the metro ending a great day in the comfort of a hotel hot box. Did I mention that the hotel rooms here are almost unbearably hot?!?!? Yes, me who is cold all the time, bundling when it is 70 at night because it’s “chilly” is roasting… well, I am almost positive our AC doesn’t work, b/c when set at 5 degrees Celsius, I was still sweating 5 hours later. However, they save energy here by not running heat or AC while you are gone. What a novel idea… Luckily it hasn’t been too bad here, so I have been fine with using nature’s air conditioning by opening the window at nights…

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