Los Molinos and Toledo!

>> October 20, 2009

Last week Thursday and Friday the school took a trip to Toledo, which is so nicely displayed as the header of our blog. The destination, which is a little south of Madrid, is about 6 painful hours on a bus. But it was all broken up nicely by our "tobacco fiend" of a bus driver and his mandatory smoke breaks. He thought he could get away with taking a few puffs while driving but we all knew what he was doing. Apparently the smokeless tobacco he also had in his mouth wasn't doing it for him.
On the way up we took a short detour to the city of La Mancha to see the Molinos de viento of Don Quixote fame. It was a good place to take some group photos. One of the students, as seen in the bottom right of the picture, tried to inflict damage on them with a styrofoam sword. Mostly because he thought it would make a good facebook picture.

(from left to right) Jose Maria and Carmen were the Acento Professors along for ride posing with Julie Ann, Leslie, and Sarah.

We are a windmill too! There is some interesting history to this pose.

Sarah and Julie Ann being crazy.
Some were broken, all were falling apart. It looks like they are repairing the castle in the back.

The inside workings.

These stairs are definitely not code.

As the area was being taken over by a couple buses of Japanese tourist and after the driver had smoked a pack, we loaded back on the bus and were on the road again.

When we got to the city of Toledo we realized that the streets going inside the city were very small and the bus we were in, filled with all our luggage, was very big, and our hotel was inside this city. We drove around trying to find a way in, had to turn around in a roundabout not made for buses while scraping sounds were being heard, then ended up on a street where tour buses were not allowed. A policeman, who thank goodness showed sympathy, directed us in the right direction and we finally got in view of the hotel. We checked in, ate lunch them met together for our first excursion.

The first stop was at the the Church of Santo Tomé to view El Greco's most famous painting: The Burial of Count Orgaz. The history of the painting is really interesting, also there is a lot going on when you look at it closely. Pictures were not allowed and I was almost going to sneak one before I realized that there was probably a better one than I could take on the internet. So here it is.

Then we headed to the Claustro (or monasterio) de San Juan de Los Reyes

Jose Maria was our tour guide. Leslie was translating to English.

This group is the smart people from the Art class at Acento. Carmen was their tour guide. They didn't need a translator.

Yay for pictures being allowed!

You rarely see a good courtyard in the States.

There we are

"Tanto Monta" was the motto of Isabella I and Ferdinand II. Its meaning it is thought to have something to do with their equality in ruling.

Cranes are aways peaking out, ruining shots.

You can't see it to well, but in the company of all the gargoyles and animals that drain water from the roof, there are legs sticking out with the drain pipe coming out of the "back region" i guess you gotta throw some comic relief in amongst all those scary gargoyles.

The men of Acento, with a couple of the girls hiding in back.

One of the doors into the city.

The next day, after a great continental breakfast we headed out into the cold city for a tour of the Catedral de Toledo.

You can see the Lord's supper depicted above the door.

Our wonderful professor/tour guide Jose Maria, gave us some interesting history about the architecture.

We were not allowed to take any photos inside the cathedral and security was extra tight because in a couple days they were going to turn someone into a saint, so there was a lot of preparation going on. But heres a picture I found online to give a little taste. Not all of the decor is this gold and gaugdy though. I was a little taken aback by the structure and grandeur.
As we were headed out of the cathedral I spotted Marina, one of our couchsurfing friends sitting in the plaza. It was a very coincidental meeting. So we caught up on her travels while sitting in the sun that finally decided to show up.
One thing toledo is known for is its swords and knives. There are stores on every corner. I felt like a kid again and I was at the biggest Renaissance Fair ever. My wonderful wife, bless her heart, finally let me buy a sweet Spanish knife before we left.

On the way out of the city we stopped to take pictures at the same spot where Sarah took the famous Toledo panoramic back in 2006. I wasn't about to try to recreate it. So here we are.
The bus ride back was brutal, but we had the weekend ahead to recover.


Happynhanford October 20, 2009 at 3:24 PM  

Beautiful photos! What fantastic architecture! The details are amazing. I know you are loving it...except those bus rides. I saved your last picture. It is great of you two! Love your blogs...keep them coming! Missing you!
Bee's Mimi

~MOM~ October 31, 2009 at 2:22 PM  

Showing Grandmother again where to write the comments. Enjoyed the blog and talking to you this morning on 10-31-09. Have a wonderful trip.. I am waiting for the new blog and pictures.....
Love you both,

grandma October 31, 2009 at 2:34 PM  

This a practice, your mom is looking over my shoulder.

grandma October 31, 2009 at 2:36 PM  

Trying again. Don't want to forget.

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