We started off today by going to an outdoor market called El Rastro. It was quite the experience! We got there relatively early, so the crowds weren't too bad at first. I got pretty nervous after awhile, once it got more crowded. I found a couple of great souvenirs to bring home and got to enjoy the wonderful weather, so it was definitely a good start to the day.
Shortly after, we boarded the train to Toledo. It was a nice, short ride and before we knew it, we were off the train and ready to explore this beautiful, historic city. We started with lunch and ate menu del día, of course. I had Gazpacho (basically, a cold tomato soup), and tortilla (egg with ham) topped with some pork. To finish it off, I had some delicious rice pudding.
My tortilla with pork. !Qué delicioso!
After that delightful lunch, we started out to explore the city. We stopped in many sword stores (the city was COVERED in them...) and just took our time looking down the beautiful cobblestone streets. Absolutely everything in this city was beautiful. One of the most interesting things about Toledo is the cultural diversity that has lasted for centuries. In most towns, when they were taken over by another empire, all of their previous structures were destroyed, and they built the new town right on top of it. In Toledo, things were different for some reason. The city has had a Moorish temple, a Roman Catholic Cathedral, and a Jewish Synagogue at the same time for pretty much its entire history. Somehow, they have all been able to live in peace throughout the centuries. This has given the city much diversity in both the people and in the architecture. The city was stunning, but what made it better was the panoramic views of the Spanish countryside from the edge of the city. We spent 7 hours there, but I could have easily spent two days. I would love to go back some day.
The view from the wall surrounding Toledo.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral.
One of the beautiful streets we walked down.
Toward the end of our adventure in Toledo, the group split up and the young 'uns took the long way around the city to see as much as we could. We stopped at a statue of Don Quixote and took some pictures, then picked up some marzipan, a Spanish treat made from sugar and almond meal, and ate it on the outer wall of the city, overlooking the river. We spent the remainder of the day enjoying Toledo and left at 9:30 PM. We got back to Madrid, ordered a pizza, and took it back to the apartment. I really enjoyed today and I cherish the time I get to spend with my family this week. I can't wait for more adventures tomorrow.