1 September 2015, Tuesday
03.09.2015 32 °C
Today was hot and sunny.
This morning was free time, but I opted for an optional tour to Toledo, one hour from Madrid. We left the hotel at 8:15am, and returned at 1:30pm. We had a local guide and local tour coach, and spent 3 hours walking through the medieval part of Toledo, which was spectacular. It has one of the largest cathedrals in the world (Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Barcelona), which was commenced in the 13th century and completed in the 15th century.
The interior of the cathedral is spectacular, bu a single photo cannot do it justice. Whilst vehicles are banned from the old town, this doesn’t apply to people who live or work in the area, so one has to be careful when travelling through the narrow streets.
Following the Toledo tour, we had an hour to grab some lunch and freshen up before joining the rest of the group for the city tour, also with our local guide and local bus. Whilst we did stop once at a monument to the author of Man of La Mancha (Spains first book to be mass printed rather than hand printed), the bulk of our viewing was from a moving bus, which doesn’t make for good photos. We also spent an hour at the Prada Art Gallery, where our guide showed us some masterpieces by artists such as Goyer, Tiziano, Greco, as well as some Picasso’s works which were temporarily on display in the main gallery. Whilst I had intended to walk back to the hotel, given the long day, the heat, and the fact that I am tired, I caught the bus back the hotel with most of the others.
About 6:30pm, decided I would go for a walk, armed with a map I obtained from the hotel. However, once I deviated from the main street, I got hopelessly lost, and could not match street names to the map. Ended up hailing a cab, and doing a mini tour of the city (I am sure the cab ride was longer than my walk) before being dropped of at the front of the hotel a approx 9:00pm for Euro7:60. Saw Ashley (from our tour) sitting on a pavement table having a beer, so joined him for dinner of a hamburger and 3 beers. Being lost in a city when you don't speak the local language is an unnerving expeience. I wasn't panicking, but I was concerned. Our tour gide had already told us of a couple in Paris who caught a local train in Paris, and ended up in farmland, and phoned our tour director to say they were lost. After finding a local farmer to interpret for them, it was established that they had cuaght an intercity fast train rather than a local suburban train, and were 40 minutes out of Paris. They had to make their own way back to Paris.