This is a minute-by-minute account of our trip to Toledo, Spain. Not Ohio… we would have stopped to say hello if we had been that close to home, home. (Don’t go to Cleveland, Tom.) We hope that it gives you an idea of how busy our days have been since we have arrived in Spain.
7:10 – Catherine’s first alarm goes off. Because our train was leaving for Toledo at 9:20 and there was absolutely no way to get there otherwise, paranoia was running wild about being ready to go and alarms were set accordingly.
8:21 – Karl arrives. Catherine passes him in the hall as she goes to Alanna and Nichelle’s room to hang underwear on their balcony to dry. Bathtub laundry and a shady window make for slow drying clothes.
8:32 – Our group of 11 departs the hostel for the metro. The group agrees this is the most urgent any of us has seen Karl since our arrival to Madrid.
8:42 – The metro leaves the Billbao station for the train station.
8:52 – After arriving to the lobby in a bit of a tiff, Adam and John seemed to make up only to have their disagreement intensify on the metro.
8:55 – We arrive at the train station.
8:57 – Karl promptly asks someone who looks like they know what they’re doing for directions. He seems very stressed at this point.
9:01 – After going down an escalator, Karl attempts to confirm if we are in the right place. “If you don’t know, ask!”
9:03 – Location is confirmed.
9:04 – We all make it through security and are greeted with giant baby heads.
9:08 – Our tickets are scanned.
9:10 – We find our seats on the train.
9:12 – John reads Catherine what Rick Steves has to say about Toledo. El Greco didn’t live there. Now you know.
9:15 – Alanna, John and Catherine discuss how to get to the airport tomorrow for the four-day weekend.
9:17 – Laura E. and Catherine switch seats. John and Laura E. plan exciting Society of News Design things and ask questions including, “How long does it take to drive to Denver?”
9:20 – Our train departs on time.
9:45 – There is an announcement indicating our arrival to Toledo.
9:46 – Karl announces, “we need to get on a bus now.”
9:53 – We board the bus. Alanna is cold in her shorts and t-shirt. Luckily, she has scarf sleeves.
10:00 – Bus leaves the stop.
10:08 – We get off the bus.
10:12 – We pick a place to eat. Everyone is hungry, thirsty and in need of caffeine.
10:28 – Everyone places their orders. There is a loud and seemingly angry British man sitting behind us. It is unclear if he is really upset or if that is just a perception of all English men after the World Cup game we watched amongst a British crowd.
10:34 – Story time with Karl about the history of the city of Toledo.
10:48 – Food begins to arrive.
10:55 – Karl slams his knee into a pole after eating Adam’s food. Adam calls karma. His food has yet to arrive.
11:04 – Adam is still eating his food. So slow.
11:08 –Nichelle teaches Catherine why a venti is called a venti. It means 20 ounces in Italian!
11:22 – We roll out of the breakfast place.
11:25 – It appears that Adam and John have resolved their earlier disagreement.
11:28 – After a short walk, we are greeted with amazing views of the city.
11:30 – There is a random wall that has rocks on it that are clearly there for us to climb.
11:38 – We see two cats, pose under arches and Karl chats up his third random stranger of the day.
11:40 – “How did you get so tall?”
“I ate my vegetables!”
11:44 – Alanna is sad when she sees a sign for a missing 2-year-old puppy.
11:46 – Toledo has many narrow roads complete with lots of cars.
11:50 – We are standing in an old city with an awesome view… complete with a giant parking lot and escalator.
11:55 – Karl locates free things like maps and guides and distributes accordingly.
11:58 – Laura E. disappears into a small doorway.
12:00 – We reach the top of a hill. Karl says, “Okay, let me just get my bearings. Screw it. Let’s just follow Karl.”
12:03 – Literally, we stumble upon a map of Toledo on the sidewalk.
12:04 – A baby bird fell out of his nest. It’s talking to its mother in attempt to find the way back.
12:09 – Karl tells us, “don’t follow me,” as he scopes out a potential path.
12:11 – “His nub is pointing us in the right direction.” Laura E. is a master of observation.
12:15 – “Watch out for wizards,” Karl warns.
12:22 – After spotting many cds hanging along sidewalks and in windows, Alanna asks Karl why they’re there. He makes up an answer but makes it sound official.
12:30 – Karl consults the map again.
12:35 – Karl explains us how to get into a museum for free by joining large groups of students that have surrounded us.
12:38 – Water is located and purchased for everyone. No one wants a Toy Story chocolate push pop bad enough to get one at this point.
12:40 – We love water and discuss our love for it openly. It’s good and good for you.
12:47 – We rest, enjoy the views and chocolate covered almonds and Twizzlers provided by Karl.
12:50 – John is injured after acting like a monkey and falling.
12:52 – A confused rooster is heard. A siesta rooster, perhaps?
13:00 – Catherine conquers the slippery slide at the park and everyone begins reminiscing about our childhood memories yet again.
13:03 – John is ordered, as the circus performer of the trip, to do tricks on the playground to entertain the group even after injury. He does so quite skillfully.
13:05 – Karl deems the restroom “pee pee land.” There was no toilet paper though.
13:07 – While leading us across a street in a single file line, Karl makes us quack.
13:08 – “Let’s just go get lost,” Karl said.
13:09 – John/Rick Steves engage in a conflict with Karl/the city of Toledo about the location of El Greco’s house. There is a sign in the city that says “Casa del Greco” but Rick Steves’ via John says he never lived there. We took Rick Steves’ side. Always.
13:12 – The group stumbles upon a man crafting beautiful gold-flaked plates, which are a signature souvenir from Toledo. He explained the process of chipping away the black covering to reveal patterns in gold and then baking the piece so it sets. Then, he can add more details on to the gold. Very cool to see… also very expensive to buy.
13:26 – Many people stop to shop for a bit. Karl hands out more chocolate to keep us happy and we continue on our way.
13:28 – We spot a sign for a museum of ancient torture instruments. Sadly we didn’t have time to visit.
13:31 – Creepy nun babies are seen haunting a candy shop’s front window.
13:32 – Many of Toledo’s streets are covering by linen hanging from a few stories up. Everyone thinks of “Aladdin” and a group sing–along of “A Whole New World” ensues.
13:35 – We finally make it to the cathedral of Toledo but cannot find the entrance. It’s a big building.
13:38 – As we so often do, everyone took pictures of the same thing at the same time creating a paparazzi effect. Many Spanish children entertain themselves by saying “hello” to us.
13:57 – Construction preventing us from entering in the usual place so we had to walk quite awhile to find the entrance. Everyone was impressed by the size and beauty of the cathedral. There was a jewel room, crypt and art everywhere, as well as some flat screen TVs and speakers painted gold to match the interior.
14:10 – In the “treasure” room, as Karl called it, there was a gift from Toledo, Ohio to the city of Toledo, Spain. They are sister cities. Pretty cool, huh?
14:21 – Pig–man spotted in a mural of Heaven and Hell. We’re assuming he was part of Hell.
14:31 – “I eat up all the attention (l get) for breakfast,” John said. He doesn’t want people to think he’s vain though…
14:32 – A religious hymn written in the cathedral.
“When you enter me it seems
that you come, oh hidden God
not to the one who has loved you best
but to he who least deserves you.”
Jose’ de Valdivieso
14:33 – Adam successfully uses his Messi keychain locator to find John. Lauryn is MIA. John suggests checking the crypt.
14:43 – Lauryn is found and we go to lunch.
14:44 – “Let’s pay attention to signs,” Karl said. A complete turnaround from his earlier remark regarding directions.
14:47 – We are all blinded as we pass the most yellow store in all of Toledo, maybe even of Spain.
14:55 – Everyone enjoys some rest and food at an outdoor restaurant.
15:40 – Abbey orders an ice cream “Maxi sandwich.”
16:38 – Everyone meets up at the bus stop to go back to the train station after some shopping and snacking. Adam decides his Magnum Gold ice cream bar is “crunchy, yet succulent.” Marzipan, an almond paste treat and signature of Toledo, is passed around. Reactions range from weird to delicious. Most fall somewhere between the two.
16:40 – Karl gets us all safely on the bus to the train station. There were amazing views of the city during the dangerously curvy ride.
16:47 – “Where’s John? I need some hand sanitizer,” Catherine said. Papa John is so handy sometimes.
16:56 – Adam confesses to stealing Nichelle’s water bottle hours ago.
17:14 – After an amazing day in Toledo, we sleepily board the train to Madrid.
17:30 – The train leaves as most nap or write in their journals. Alanna and Abbey fought motion sickness from riding facing the wrong direction.
18:00 – Home, sweet home. The train pulls in to the Madrid train station.
18:10 – Before boarding the Metro to go to the hostel, we stop to admire a tropical forest in the train station complete with a few hundred turtles.
We hope you enjoyed this account of our day and that everyone has fun on the four-day weekend!
C-Mill$ and A-Dawg aka Cathalanna.