Day 8: Toledo, Spain - Getting armed at the Alcazar!

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Europe » Spain » Castile-La Mancha » Toledo
October 23rd 2015
Published: April 5th 2016
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With its cobblestone streets and medieval walls it is no wonder that the entire city of Toledo is declared a UNESCO world heritage site. For centuries, Christians, Muslims and Jews flourished in this city of three cultures and built an incredible display of churches, monasteries, mosques and fortresses. In addition, Toledo is known for its traditional crafts, including damascene metalwork antique swords and handmade marzipan (sweet almond pastries).

With so much to see in Toledo, it feels ironic that our first stop was the bus station. We were thinking about taking day trip to Consuegra, Spain, to see the windmills and the Saffron festival. However, realizing that we would not have much time in Consuegra, we decided to skip the trip. Instead, we headed to Zocodover, the main square.

With nothing planned, we decided to take a hop on and off bus tour of Toledo. In hindsight, we regretted paying for the bus as we ended up not using it much. However, the bus did take us out to Mirador de Valle, a viewpoint that gives you an excellent panoramic image of Toledo.

The first place we visited that day was the Alcazar. On the way we passed various sword shops and a statue of Don Quixote. Don Quixote is a classic novel written by Miguel de Cervantes and it follows the adventures of Don Quixote, a man obsessed with chivalric romances that he loses his sanity. He along with his recruited squire, Sancho gets in all sorts of trouble with the townsfolk while they inadvertently try to defend the helpless and punish the guilty. The novel takes place in the Castille-La Mancha region in which Toledo is located. Although the book is a classic, I found the novel too long and dragging that I lost interest. However, it was interesting to see the region where the book takes place.

The Alcazar of Toledo is a massive stone fortress and situated within it is the Army Museum. The museum houses large collections of military equipment including: knives, swords, firearms, shields, armour, and uniforms starting from the 19th century. There is also a section of old Roman ruins found within the museum. We spent the majority of the day just going through the endless rooms of the museum. After looking at so much armour, swords and military equipment, we were exhausted. It was a little too much museum for me.

We ate a local restaurant and walked around Toledo for a bit before heading back to the hostal. Tomorrow, we will explore the many churches, synagogues and mosques in Toledo where Christians, Muslims and Jews lived and coexisted together.

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