Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The next stop on our trip was Toledo. I’d been wanting to go to Toledo since I learnt about it’s history in a Spanish Architecture class. What had interested me was the long history of co-existence between Muslim, Jewish and Christian cultures, and how that presence remains visually apparent in the architecture. This diverse inspiration of styles is one of the reasons for Toledo’s historic center 's UNESCO heritage designation.  

"ruining all" Andre's pictures

We arrived early in the afternoon, stopped at the tourist office immediately located outside the train, picked up a map, and took the bus to the old center.  After dropping of our bags we walked around, stopped for lunch, and toured the Cathedral. Toledo is a common day trip destination for travelers, it only being 30 minutes outside of Madrid by train. We opted to stay the night though, and found a little hotel with a roof top patio to watch the sunset. 

Sunset from the roof top
We did have trouble finding anything open after the sunset though.  The only place open didn’t look that appetizing, we did give it a go, and I’m glad we did because I had a full out conversation in Spanish!

I’d been listening to Coffee Break Spanish podcasts and pestering Andre to practice Español with me too. I certainly was ecstatic when I went up the bar to get the “cuenta,” (bill) and as I was having trouble with the pronunciation of “cuenta” an elderly man smiled at my attempts. 

Cathedral, on our walk back to the hotel
I smiled back and said:
Hoy no hablo español” – I don’t speak Spanish

to which he replied:
“¿De dónde eres?” – Where are you from?

shocked, I realized I knew the answer!
Soy de Canada, pero ahora vivo en Francia” – I’m from Canada, but now I live in France!

Nodding, he asked:
“¿Te gusta Toledo?” – Do you like Toledo?

in my excitement all I could stammer out was, si si, estupendo, magnifico!”

The next morning we took the hike downhill to the train station to catch the next train south to the Andalucía region.......


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