Solitary Wanderings


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Europe » Spain » Andalusia » Granada
April 18th 2012
Published: April 19th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Not much was going on this week, except an impromptu trip to Toledo. I’ve been obsessing over this damasquino stuff, and Toledo is the place to buy it. No one else was really interested in going, so I ended up making the trip myself. I left Thursday afternoon after class. It’s unfortunate because there’s no direct bus from Granada to Toledo, so I had to take the five hour bus up to Madrid, go to a different bus station and then take the hour long bus ride to Toledo. I didn’t get there until eleven at night and had to walk to my hostel in the dark. It was a bit nerve racking for me, but I had a map and good directions, so I found it easily enough. The hostel is tucked in just inside the old walls of the city. It reminded me a lot of our hostel in Ronda—basically an apartment converted into a small hostel with five small rooms.

I had three other roommates, but we didn’t talk much, and I just went to sleep. I woke up early the next morning and was checked out by 8:15. It was a bit chilly when I went outside since I only had my light jacket. It’s a sad thing happening in Spain right now. We had all that sun and warmth in March, but it’s gone away for cold and rainy in April. At least it was sunny Friday for my city touring. The guy working at the hostel had circled some things on my map to see and told me which street had the best damasquino. My first stop was Plaza Zocodover. This is an interesting plaza because, unlike most plazas, it isn’t a rectangle. Since the area isn’t flat, they couldn’t make the traditional rectangle so it’s an irregular triangle instead.

I wandered down one street from the plaza to the Alcazar, which was an old fort and Roman palace, it now houses the Museum of the Army. I didn’t go in because it was only 9:00, and it didn’t open until 10:30. That was the bad thing about leaving the hostel so early: everything would be closed for at least another hour. I decided to move on and come back later. I moved on down the street and found the Cathedral. This is an interesting building because it has two towers, one much taller than the other. The second tower was planned to be built just as tall, but the foundations started sinking because it was too heavy, so they had to stop.

More wandering along the winding roads of Toledo led me to the monastery of San Juan de los Reyes and the Bridge of San Martin. After taking a rest (Toledo is very hilly) I trekked back up the city center to find my damasquino. There is a road with store after store selling the stuff along with the famous Toledo steel swords and knives. I found one and bought a few pieces of jewelry and left wishing I had more money. All of it was so beautifully made, and there was so much more than jewelry. They had ornate plates, mini knives, decorative pens and envelope openers, vases, and other little knickknacks. Just go to Google and type in damasquino and look at the pictures. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

After this I basically had no more cash on me. I only spent about 50 euros, but that was all I had brought. I’ve said it before, but I’m running low on funds. I had already seen basically all of the city and it was only noon. My bus wasn’t leaving until 2:30, but I didn’t want to sit around for two more hours doing nothing, so I went to the bus station and changed my ticket. I also preferred to get home before 9:30. The bus ride was pretty uneventful. I tried to sleep most of the way since my iPod died and I had nothing else to do. Toledo wasn’t a very exciting trip, but I got to see one of the oldest cities in Spain and wander around the beautiful streets for a day.

My friend from Paris is on vacation, so he’s making a trip around Spain seeing all his friends, and he stayed for a few days in Granada. We met up on today to catch up. I haven’t seen him since freshman year when he was the French language lab assistant at Central my freshman year. We found a teteria to have some tea and talk. It was a nice day, so we went walking around Granada and ended up at the Alhambra. We didn’t have tickets so we couldn’t go in, but we walked around the paths up there, and it was very beautiful. I’m a little ashamed now that I haven’t been up to see it before since I’ve been living here for three months. But I’m taking my family there when they come to visit, so I’ll get to it before I leave. I had class at 6:30 so we wandered back down to the city and walked home. I’ve gotten so used to living in Granada that I’m out of tourist mode. I haven’t been out exploring the city in a long time; I’m too comfortable with my daily haunts. I realized today that I still have a lot more of the city to see before I leave, and I only have four and half weeks to do it. Better get started.


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