Madrid – Toledo 2018

Yet another trip this year! And the year has barely started 😉

Getting up at an utterly early hour had one big advantage: we landed in Madrid around 9am, so we had a full day ahead!

Since this is our second trip to the Spanish capital, we can skip the touristy part. We love bird-eye views so we visit the Moncloa Tower first. At a height of 92 meters, Madrid is literally at our feet. Despite some clouds, we have a lovely view over the city and the surroundings.
From Moncloa we take a subway to another nice part of the city: the park along the river Manzanares. Cars used to drive here, now this is a green lung with a nice promenade, some fancy bridges and playgrounds.

The weather is perfect for a Saturday stroll! We have some time left before lunch/dinner (dinner in Spain usually doesn’t start before 8PM, so we opt for the late Spanish lunch – by the time restaurants are closing, around 4PM) and walk further to the Tierno Galván park. Although we are close to the Atocha railway station, this is an area without tourists. The park has a punk- Berlin feeling. The observatory (Planetario Madrid) strangely enough is open, from the outside it looks very worn out to say the least …

We wanted to have our lunch/dinner in this area, but the small (and local) restaurant is absolutely full and we decide to try our luck closer to the railway station. We find a small vegan place, Distrito Vegani, which was okey (try the croquetas filled with mushroom, delicious – and necesarry if you are hungry since the means are rather small).

Our train to Toledo will not wait for us, so we go to the station well in time. Good to know: in Spanish train stations you must go through an airport kind of security. And they check your train ticket before you board the train. So arrive in time 🙂

Toledo is only half an hour from Madrid, which makes it a perfect daytrip. Perhaps we shouldn’t make too much fuss about it, because there are already enough tourists here. Incredible …

The railway station of Toledo. I can’t get over it. It’s amazing! So so beautiful! So close to Madrid, yet so different. And this can be said from the town itself too.

We arrived at night, but decided to have a small walk close to our hotel. We found a lovely spot to enjoy the sunset, just outside the inner city without other ‘invaders’ and close to the Puerta de Alfonso VI.

The next day, we get up quite early and start our day with a walk around the town, along the river. It’s about 5km, but very easy. So no excuses to stretch those legs! We start at the Puente de Alcántara. We see a lot of local people, again. Tourists go to the lookouts by bus. Of course 🙂 But they don’t get to the Cerro del Bu – remains from the bronze age! And a very good lookout point (see the 360 view).

We have some fun along the walk with Chinese tourists (it won’t be the last time this trip) but most of all enjoy the views over the town in front of us. Our walk ends at the Puente de San Martin.
This part of town is the old Jewish quarter. As in many Spanish towns, it is well preserved. The Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca is a must. The entrance fee is €2,8 (same as for the other places of interest). This synagogue was build in the 11th century, and rebuild as a church in the 16th century. The pillars very much reminded me of the Alhambra in Córdoba.

After this intermezzo we walk to the Jardines del Tránsito, a lovely lookout in front of the El Greco museum. Although very famous, we didn’t visit this museum. Instead we walked the small streets of Toledo, where few tourists come. They seem to all gather at the Catedral Primada instead. Unfortunately the cathedral was closed. But we did get a chance to have a view over the inner town from the towers of the Iglesia de los Jesuitas. The San Román church next to it was closed.

Before going back to Madrid, we try to visit the Alcázar, but is seems to be a military museum in which we aren’t interested. We have a very good lunch/dinner at Pastucci and then had back to the railway station to get our train to Madrid.

We stay at the Dear Hotel. No need to look for a sunset point: the roof is perfect!

The next morning we start at the Royal Palace. There is a lot of police and the square in front is closed. We are too curious and wait to find our what’s going on. The Spanish know how to welcome their guests! Unfortunately they didn’t summone their horses and fanfare for us, but for the Portuguese president. Impressive!
We encounter some crazy Chinese people for the second time on this trip, having the time of their life 🙂

We walk further on to the Royal Botanic Gardens, but leave it for what it is. Not sure if the entrance fee of €4 is worth it. The Retiro park is just around the corner and free. We spend some time here before going back in the city center, direction Chueca area. We have our dinner and at night we visit the Temple of Debod park. After a final Madrilenian sunset we prepare for our flight home tomorrow.

Madrid has been a nice trip again, we are ready for the next adventure in two weeks!

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