Toledo

Okay, so yet again it’s been a while but I don’t think everyone really wants to read about how I’ve gone to lectures and attempted to write my dissertation so I haven’t written anything. However, the past 5 days have been kind of hectic in regards to travelling around places and seeing things. So I thought I would update you all on it.

Saturday 16th March, that was the day when I went on my first trip with people from Salamanca. I went to Toledo which is an old medieval town just underneath Madrid. Well I say it’s just underneath but I think it’s around 1 to 2 hours away from the capital. The coach journey took us around 4 hours but that did include a small 20 minute break so it didn’t seem too bad. Although on the way there I thought I was going to be sick, that’s what happens when you have a big meal the night before and very little sleep. I think I may have to work on that problem.

We arrived at the outskirts of the city at around 11am where we picked up a tour guide who would be accompanying us for the rest of the day, unfortunately. I wasn’t annoyed that we had a tour guide but more at the fact that I like to walk around at my pace and do what I want without being dictated into which direction to go in. However, we did learn some interesting information on our trip around. We started off doing a coach tour where we got to see the medieval part of Toledo and some of the newer areas but the main focus was on the cathedral and the inner most areas of the town.

Part of the picture that I missed off.
Panoramic view of Toledo

It was nice being able to see what the place looked like from the edge before we started the tour inside the city.

Unfortunately, as we had two buses we were all split up and it meant that I wasn’t able to go around with my housemate Emma but luckily I was on the same coach as Chrissie so I wasn’t left completely alone. Whilst inside the city we saw many different, important places like the Plaza de Zocodover and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, this one contained the cathedral and the town hall. It was a nice small space but it had so much history contained in it. The main problem I had with the tour was the microphone for our guide had broken and we were unable to hear the majority of what she had to say; I think this is another reason why I found it slightly pointless. 
We also visited a synagogue in the middle of the city that was built by Muslims, used by Jewish people and then taken over by the church when the Moors were driven out of the area. We were told that Toledo was a purely Christian city as those who wished to could convert from their previous religion to Christianity whilst the others who refused were expelled from the city completely. It was interesting going inside the now museum to look at the architecture and also because I have never been in synagogue before so it was interesting to see what it looked like. There was a big courtyard outside the actual building with a wall surrounding it. It was very impressive to see and also quite beautiful. It was a shame that they were doing construction work on the building as it took away from some of it’s magnificence but old buildings have to be restored, so what am I to do about it?  
After we had been to all the major points in the city we taken to a small artesian factory/shop just outside the old part of the city. We were shown how they make swords and add engravings onto small talismans. It was quite interesting to see but it amazed me at how many people stood over the line that was meant to stop people from being caught by sparks as the guy hit the hot sword into shape. After we had seen them at their work we were allowed into the the shop to have a look around. There were so many things! I was in awe! Most people were taking photos of themselves with a sword but I didn’t bother with that I did however pick up a bastard sword, I was actually quite surprised at how heavy it was. It was weird to me that the people who owned the place allowed so many photos to be taken but I suppose they do make quite a bit of money from the tours so it can’t be too bad for business.
That was the end of our guided tour and we had around two hours left to get some food and buy a few souvenirs. It was a good end to the day as we were finally able to join up with people from the other bus and talk but we didn’t get much chance to have another wander around the city but I’m sure that we saw all the important parts.  
I was also going to write about Las Fallas here but I think this is getting to be a bit too long so I shall update you all on that in a few days time.
Hasta la fuego,
Lauren ๐Ÿ™‚ x

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