Toledo (Spain)

June 11- 12, 2012 The early morning RyanAir flight from Santiago to Madrid was painless as we had paid extra for priority boarding and seat assignments. Only 50 minutes in the air and we arrived at the Madrid airport where I had pre arranged a shuttle to drive us to Toledo. Exiting the airport a driver holding a sign with our names was easily spotted. We boarded a large bus and it only took a few minutes to realize that we were the only passengers. It seemed a bit silly to have a huge bus for just the two of us for the hour drive to Toledo but a cab or car rental would have cost much more. Our hotel was located in the old town section and since our shuttle was a large bus the driver informed us that it would not fit down the narrow streets so we would have to walk from the main square. It was a pain to pull our luggage through the throngs of ¬†people and over the rough cobblestone roadway but we managed. Arriving at our small hotel the front desk fellow checked us in but was quite unfriendly. At least the room was nice and the hotel had a small veranda on the roof which provided a 360 degree view of the town. The view overlooking tiled roofs, the cathedral and nearby castle was so “old” Spain. We spent both evenings sitting at a small table drinking red wine and snacking on local cheeses and meats while the sun set and the swallows began their flights over the rooftops. Toledo is known for quality knife making and I purchased a couple as souvenirs. We had two late lunches both days that were some of the best food I had eaten since arriving is Spain. We visited the museum of Santa Cruz which had a decent exhibit of Spanish Impressionist artists as well as 15 El Greco paintings. The main cathedral also had several rooms filled with El Greco’s as well as my favorite Renaissance¬† painter Caravaggio (whose was the master of executing the play of light and dark known as chiaroscuro in his paintings. Journal: ” The light of Toledo is one of the most amazing I have experienced. There is something about the color of the stone used in the building construction and the blue sky during that the short time before sunset when the town radiates in a golden glow. It is easy to understand the lure for artists. As I stood experiencing the light my whole mood was elevated and I was contented”