April 26, 2009 - Posted by Erin in Travels in Spain

Yesterday, Heather and I decided to take a little day trip outside of Madrid – always one of my favorite things to do on the weekends here. She had never been to Toledo, which is of a course a “must see” city here in Spain. So I was up for taking my fourth trip to the very special little city to show her around. Special because it was the first city I visited outside of Madrid – I went there by myself the very first time I came to Spain and absolutely fell in love with it.

We got there and decided to just get lost in the city. Usually I pick up a map considering its windy streets can easily lead you to nowhere if you don’t know where you are going. But, I figured that I knew well enough what direction we needed to head in to find everything, so we may as well just wander aimlessly until we fell upon the best sites.

During our journey we decided to do what we do best – something we fondly call tapas hopping. It basically entails us partaking in one of the very common Spanish traditions of going from place to place (usually bars) and having a tapa and a drink and then heading to the next place. Ours was a mini version this time – normally we prefer to spend an entire weeknight hopping from bar to bar in the La Latina neighborhood of Madrid. Heather and I are both basically professionals at this – we love Spanish food with all our hearts (especially the wine, cheese and jamón……and bread, and tortilla, and olives….ok, we don’t discriminate!), and nothing makes us more happy than sampling various tapas at different bars. During this particular little tapas trip, we had a plate of delicious manchego cheese at one place (manchego is from the community that Toledo is a part of – Castilla La Mancha), accompanied by tintos de verano (summer wines), and then at our next stop we enjoyed jamón and gazpacho. The trip was also punctuated by a couple of stops for sweets – the city is known for its marzipan, so we had to be sure to sample that as well.

After wandering through the city and eventually finding our way back to the car, we headed up to the Parador of Toledo. Paradors are hotels that you can find throughout Spain – usually they occupy historic buildings and in general are sites worth seeing in and of themselves. The Parador in Toledo has a stunning view of the city, so it was there that we each grabbed some coffee before our hour long drive home. It was a perfect finish to our little adventure.

Today I am spending the day mentally preparing myself for the next few crazy weeks. This coming weekend, Jacob and I will be driving to Galicia, the northwestern most region of Spain. It’s one of the very few places in Spain I haven’t been, so I am eager to check it off my list! The following weekend begins the real craziness though – I found out this last week that I will need to go to a conference in Seattle on May 11. Well, my friend Kim is coming out to visit me in Madrid (for the second time!) on May 16th, so the only way for me to get a flight back in time is for me to actually fly through SF because Seattle doesn’t have as many flights. So, I will be flying to SF, staying there for a day, then flying to Seattle for three days, then flying back to SF for a night, and then, coincidentally, will be flying back on the very same flight as Kim to Madrid. Annnndddd thennnn, Kim and I will arrive in Madrid Saturday morning and hop directly onto a train to Cordoba, where we will be picking up a rental car and driving to Granada for the night….then back to Cordoba for a night, and then I will train-it back to Madrid on Monday morning and straight into work, and finish off the day with a Flamenco show. Wow – I am completely exhausted just writing this!

It will definitely be a tiring couple of weeks, but I am absolutely looking forward to the opportunity to go home, go to Seattle (and see all my family who lives there, including my two cousins who are pregnant – one of which who is due while I am there!!!), and then having a good visit with Kim.

More to come whenever I have a moment to catch my breath!

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