Welcome to the last travel post of my time spent in Spain during this past winter holidays. After starting out in Madrid and heading down to explore the rich and diverse (and warm!) culture of the Andalusia region, we had our final stop in Toledo, a city located just an hour away from Madrid (where we would be heading back to afterwards) and was once the capital of Spain. Today, however, less than 100,000 people live in the city, so it makes for a rather small city.
Before we arrived in the city proper, we stopped along the roadside of a cliff to take photos of the city itself from across. Compared with Marbella and Granada, the weather was a little nippier here (windy, too), but still, the sun was shining and it gave the city a golden glow to it, with the Alcázar of Toledo and the cathedral standing out in the background, as well as being flanked by the blue, Tagus river.
We had lunch at a small hotel perched on the hill, again with great views of Toledo. Afterwards, we drove down to the city proper, where we met our local tour guide who took us around for a two-hour visit.
Unfortunately, due to the timing of our tour (we were there Christmas Eve, which is actually a bigger observed holiday than the actual Santa Claus Day itself), the cathedral was closed along with other attractions, so we could only see things from the outside. Nevertheless, the weather was lovely, and so our visit was a pleasant one.
We started at the base of the city along the Tagus River before taking a couple flights of escalators and stairs to the top of a hill, where the city center was located. From there, we headed over to the large Toledo Cathedral (again, it was closed for Christmas Eve), before having a few minutes to check out the small Christmas market going on in the cathedral square. I saw one stand selling Turkish delights and sweets, and for me being a huge fan of baklava and all of that kind of desserts, it was certainly a “delight” to see them there (I know…that pun was so bad). Didn’t end up buying them, but still was drool-worthy to look at!
Afterwards, we visited the old Jewish quarter, which was a maze of quiet, narrow cobblestone streets just like those in Córdoba and Seville. Our tour guide also pointed out to us the small signs that had icons representing Judaism, such as the Star of David and the menorah, which were cool indicators of being in the historical quarter.
We came out of the Jewish Quarter, and we descended the hill again via stairs down to the Tagus River, where we had started out (it always goes back to the source, doesn’t it?). Crossed the bridge over to our tour coach, with the late-afternoon sun hitting us and the lovely, blue river.
After that, we were pretty much done with Toledo; we made the short, one-hour drive back to Madrid where from there we ended our four, five-day tour of the Andalusia region. My family and I stayed one night in Madrid before heading our separate ways for the rest of the holidays, them to Lisbon and for me back to France.
Altogether, it was an intensive week in Spain, but I was so happy to have taken part in it. I had a good time meeting up with my family after having not seen them for a couple of months, as well as exploring more of what Spain had to offer, more than just the places that I’d been to already before then, e.g. Barcelona and Madrid. To me, the Andalusia region was distinctive with its rich blend of Spanish, Islamic, and Jewish cultures, all of which I didn’t know about until I visited them. The sites were amazing, the food was amazing, and of course, the warm weather was incredible, especially having come from the winter cold in Germany and the gloomy overcast of France (although sadly, I would be heading back to that shortly afterwards). Going to Spain over the holiday season has inspired me to visit more places there in the future- I have my sights set on Malaga, Salamanca, and San Sebastian. We’ll have to see!
Spain might be over, but I still have one more destination to share with you from this past winter vacation. Heading back to France and visiting the cold, Normandy coasts of Le Havre & Étretat! See you soon.
— The Finicky Cynic
Check me out on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/thefinickycynic