Day 13–Toledo and Madrid
Mostly a traveling day, we said goodbye to our quick and lively stop in Ubeda and got on the road for the long drive to Toledo. We made a couple of stops on the way. Having passed into the Castilla-La Mancha region, we made a rest stop at a cute area in Puerto Lápice at a place called Venta Don Quixote. The pictures say it all! Emma had provided fig snacks from Ubeda (remember those fig trees), and Wendy, for one loved them!! We also had fresh figs for breakfast.
Onto Toledo, the former capital of Spain and a tourist mecca (no pun intended) being only an hour or so from Madrid. We stopped outside the city to take the quintessential view picture—the same view that El Greco painted (born in Crete but lived most of his life here).
We stopped for a quick lunch featuring Spanish ham, spent a bit of time shopping in the side streets (leather, damascene and marzipan are the hot things here-we got all three in one form or another), and then toured the city with our local guide, Gloria.
Spent (too much) time in yet another beautiful church, the gothic Cathedral, then walked over to the church of Santa Tome, where El Greco’s famous painting, The Burial of Count Orgaz is on display (unfortunately no photos allowed). We also saw several other El Grecos in the Cathedral.
Our final stop was in one of the two remaining synagogues left here, the Sinagoga del Transito. The other was converted into a church. Although this was still a synagogue, with a little side museum, it wasn’t functional (there is no Jewish community) and seemed like the Jewish elements had been just placed there to try to revive the building. After yesterday’s spectacular trip to the mikvah synagogue, even though prettier, this paled by comparison.
A long walk back across the Tagus River completed the Toledo visit. Onto Madrid!
We arrived in Madrid and walked around the neighborhood of our luxury hotel (no more paradores), the Wellington, which is in the Salamanca area—very upscale and limited shops, but all very lovely. We ate with seven others from our group and had a nice dinner with wine, drinks, and some great Spanish/Fusion food.