Toledo, tapas, and free time

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June 19th 2019
Published: June 19th 2019
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We had such a lovely day venturing to Toledo this morning. It's a medieval city 45 minutes from Madrid, and the original capitol of Spain. Historically, Jews Christians and Muslims lived here peaceably until 1492 when Ferdinand and Isabella evicted Jews and Muslims. Signs of the Jewish quarter still exist in small blue tiles inlaid in the cobblestone, showing menorahs and the Hebrew word for life, and Moorish influence on architecture can be seen in the horseshoe-shaped archways of the synagogue-turned-mosque-turned-church. Citizens were preparing for the Corpus Christi festivities tomorrow, so hundreds of children were gathered to lay flowers in front of the church, and the cobblestoned streets were decorated in bright floral adornments. Banners and flags flew from balconies. There was a celebratory hum in the air!

After Toledo we returned to Madrid for lunch. Many of us tried the calamari sandwiches, and a few got pooped on by pigeons!

At the Reina Sofia museum after lunch, part of our group got stuck in the glass elevator! Even though it was hot and sweaty in there, they were freed after a minute or two. ? We stood in awe of Pablo Picasso's Guernica that chronicled the psychological pain of losing a child, the physical pain of torture and injury, and the overall chaos and tumult that comes with war. Dali did not fail to impress with his surreal rendition of the fear of time, grasshoppers, and bats!

Tonight we enjoyed a tapas dinner of jamon from the Iberian peninsula (salty and tender, not tough and chewy like prosciutto), mild manchego cheese from the Manchuria region of Spain where we were this morning, savory mooro kebabs (named for Moorish influence), and espresso-flavored flan for dessert. Yum! Some of our free time was spent collecting a few mementos before we leave Madrid tomorrow morning, bound for Granada and the Costa del Sol. The weather has been sunny and breezy, perfect for sightseeing and all of the exploring on foot.

Love and hugs!

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