Partner Carol and I covered a lot of ground on our recent trip to Spain, but there is only so much you can see and do in 12 days in a country larger than California. Consequently, using Barcelona and Madrid as our hubs, we made a point of taking day trips to see other attractions too.
If you ever visit Madrid, a day trip to the ancient city of Toledo – pronounced “toh-leh-doh” instead of “toe-lee-doh” like the city in Ohio – is an absolute must. Perched strategically on top of a hill above the plains of Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain, it was the country’s long-time capital until 1560 when Philip II decided to move his court to Madrid. Different cultures have occupied Toledo over the centuries, including the Romans, the nomadic tribes of the Visigoths, and the Moors from North Africa. The city’s rich cultural and architectural heritage is visibly punctuated by its well-preserved synagogues, mosques, and cathedrals.
Getting to Toledo was a piece of cake. The fast-speed train from Madrid was affordable – about $15 round-trip – and fast – just 33 minutes each way. After arriving at the train station on the outskirts of town, all we had to do was follow the fuchsia-painted line on the sidewalks until we came to modern-day escalators on the northeast side of Toledo that deposited us right at the top. We were soon greeted by what some people have described as the most confusing street layout in Spain (though I’d be more charitable and call it “labyrinthine”). It turns out the twisting, narrow, cobble-stoned streets weren’t just an accident of poor city planning, however, but were instead designed deliberately by Toledo’s Muslim founders who wanted to disorient any invaders who somehow managed to breach the impressive walls surrounding this hilltop enclave.
The featured image of Toledo was taken from Mirador del Valle, which, translated literally, means “view of the valley.” I knew from my pre-trip research that this is where one goes for the fabulous lookout that displays the city in all its glory. I also knew that I would kick myself for a long time if we departed Toledo without a panoramic image taken near sunset. A miscommunication with a taxi driver cost us 15 minutes, which can be a critical amount of time when shooting near the end of the day, but we still arrived at Mirador del Valle with time to spare and lingered for a very pleasant 45 minutes before our taxi driver arrived and took us to the train station for our return trip. While I’m sure dining in Toledo would’ve been an exquisite experience, we had to beat feet back to Madrid for flamenco!
My next post will focus on one of the spectacular cathedrals that Carol and I were fortunate to visit on our trip. In the meantime, should you happen to be near Bainbridge Island, please do visit our gallery if you enjoy photography. We have a wide selection of landscape, urban, and travel images, including an excellent assortment of metal prints, canvas prints, custom-framed black-and-white prints, and fine art acrylic prints. For gallery hours, please consult our Contact page.
Adiós for now,
Andrew (Andy) Bergh