|On the way to Toledo we drive through the La Manch region. Well know for its wine and saffron.
For lunch we stopped at a village in La Mancha with a very special 16th century inn. The Village is painted white with blue paint around the windos, doors and foundations. It is their superstition that flies do not like blue and therefore will not come into the buildings. Makes for very attractive setting I think. The village has numerous Moorish windmills on the hillsides.
Then it is on to Toledo. Toledo is the site of Napolian's first defeat by Wellington. Toledo is surrounded on three sides by the Rio Tajos so the city wall only had to be built on one side. Because tour buses are not allowed at the top, an escalator system he's been built to transport people to the old city. Didn't count how many there were but it seemed like a lot. They don't know how old the old city really is but evidence has been found that there were Roman baths. The Moors were there and then the city was conquered by El Cid for the Christians in 1085. There was a Jewish community but they were expelled in 1492. The Moors were aware of how valuable the Jews were intellectually as merchants and doctors so they sent ships to aid the Jews in departing Toledo. Toledo was the Capitol of Spain until 1562 when it was moved to Madrid, following that Toledo suffered economically. It was and is a very religious city with many monesteries and convents. They too have suffered with the economy and loss of religious vocations to the point that many have closed, but it was mentioned that 13 small convent still remain having only small memberships.
We also visited a Damascian Steel factory which makes gold and silver swords, knives and jewelry, a former Jewish synagogue turned museum and the Puenta San Martine, the Bridge of St Martin which connects the old and new city.
Then it was on to Madrid where we visited the Plaza Mayor in Old Madrid which was the original market place where goods for sale were brought. Goods sold there were taxed and therefore some sellers began selling outside the walls to avoid the tax only later to have the rulers move the walls further out. In the Plaza what were government offices are now apartments with numerous restaurants on the Plaza. We had our dinner there; a very enjoyable meal and entertainment. We then walked to our transportation to see a few sites including the Mercado (market) and the Royal Palace.