Back for another update! Although the connection here is a little poor.
It’s been a few days packed with things. I left my notebook in the car so I can’t remember all the details but I’ll try to recall.
Day 3 was probably the day we went to tour Toledo, the previous capital of Spain until the 15 hundreds if I’m not wrong. It was a half-day tour conducted by the local tour agency Trapsatur. We left the apartment close to 8am that day, way before the sun was up. We made our way in the biting morning cold to the entrance of Westin where the tour bus would pick us up to the agency, from where we will depart again for Toledo. We were so afraid we’d miss the bus that we were there rather early and waited quite long in the cold.
Toledo was about an hour’s journey out of Madrid. It’s a quaint little town with narrow alleys and a picturesque panorama, quite different from Madrid since its an old town. The aged guide (although stutters in english) weaved her way about nimbly through the streets of Toledo, stopping at sights and monuments. We entered a wonderful cathedral followed by a ‘museum’ where a beloved man in old Toledo was buried. His benevolence culminated in a beautiful mural beside his grave. But I couldn’t pick up much from the guide’s heavy accent so it was kinda wasted.
Towards the end we visited a goldsmith’s workshop (or something to that effect). They hammered gold threads into iron lockets. But the things there were mostly tourist-oriented so everything there was pricey.
I AM SO PISSED BECAUSE THE INTERNET BACK AT THE HOTEL GOT DISCONNECTED AND I LOST THE REST OF THE POST.
It’s almost the end of this trip and here I am trying to complete this post. Time really flew because we’ll be going back in about two days time. Feeling pretty sad and sore about the sudden turn in the weather. Apparently its really unusual that the temperature has dropped so sharply to about 3-5 degs each day since the Catalonian region lies near the Mediterranean, and its not supposed to be this cold }: I didn’t get to enjoy the comfortable weather I was expecting. In fact I didn’t have much winterwear with me I had to wear the same few jackets over the two weeks.
So anyway, continuing..
We returned to Madrid for the walking tour, not around Hapsburg Madrid, but just a walking tour that covers the important sights of Madrid. We started out from the Puerto Sol or Gate of the Sun, ground zero of Madrid. It is the place where everyone gathers to usher in new years with 12 grapes in their hands, each to be eaten at every sounding of the bell. According to the guide, its not easy haha.
Random ads in Spanish are popping up…
We stopped at various landmarks with the guide giving us a very comprehensive account of things there is to know. Along the way we learned much about the architectural trends in Madrid. Its been said that there isn’t really any style characteristic to Madrid as they are rather conservative in this aspect. Newer buildings looked impressive but they were a combination of styles from other European counterparts as well as between periods, which expressed a sort of creativity in itself; columns from Greece, french balconies, gothic gargoyles, classical fountains and such. Often you’d find Venus or Hercules standing in the middle of a fountain. There were exceptions though, where the guide led us to certain facades hidden in narrow alleys which retained a local Madrid baroque decor but it was rare.
Dinner was at a restaurant in the square which served up pretty good grilled pork and salad. I can’t remember much of the detail, hope I got the sequence right. I’ll post the next time I get internet, might already be back in Singapore.