Not Toledo, Ohio.
Living with a salary of around 800€ a month, I have become quite the expert on finding a good deal. You can really stretch your
dollar euro here in Spain and spend an entire day sightseeing in an UNESCO World Heritage site like Toledo for under 20€.
During a free Saturday, my American co-worker and I decided to do some sightseeing in Toledo. We embraced our foreign roots and took advantage of being tourists for the day, complete with cameras and neck straps, gym shoes and jeans, maps and sunglasses. For the record, I didn’t really use the map. Personally I feel you get a better experience when you get lost and wander around the town. That also might be the reason we ended up walking about 20 kilometers that day.
A little bit of history:
Toledo is called the “City of Three Cultures” with Christian, Muslim, and Jewish historical influence. A medieval city with history that dates back to the Bronze Age, it’s an impressive sight into the past. Cobblestone streets, a walled city, narrow alleyways, it’s like you are walking through photos in a history book. Most notably home of El Greco and Alfonso X (el Sabio), it’s a town filled to the brim with culture. The most notable sights are: the Alcazar, the Cathedral, the Synagogue, and the Puerta Nueva de Bisagra. It’s an elevated town and the views are incredible, absolutely breathtaking! Sometimes I have to pinch myself to realize this is real life.
So my day started at the Torrijos bus station waiting for an 11:15am bus. I had previously looked up the bus schedule and conveniently found two ‘current’ bus schedules to and from Torrijos. I only could laugh when they were different timetables, classic Spain. So I figured we would start with the earliest and if it didn’t show up we would just wait for the next one. When we got to the station, I was pleasantly surprised when there was a small group of us all waiting for the 11:15 bus to Toledo, yes! I successfully outsmarted the confusing spanish schedules. A bus pulled up around 11:20 and we all lined up to get on. The bus let passengers off and then shut the door, shook his finger at us and drove away as all of our jaws dropped. I innocently thought that maybe he went to go get gas or turn around the block to come back for us, but after an hour, it was clear that he was not coming back. I chatted with some of the Spaniards who were also going to Toledo and we were all very confused. So the only option was to wait for the next bus…at 1:00pm. It wasn’t an ideal start to the day by having to wait 2 hours at the bus station, but in the end we made it to Toledo. By the time we arrived and walked towards the center of the town, it was lunchtime. I found a small little restaurant with a “menu del día” for 12€. This giant lunch consisted of three dishes, starting with pasta bologñesa, a chicken breast, and finally ice cream. Complete with wine, of course! I actually laughed when they brought an entire bottle just for me. I could get used to this!
After an afternoon of sightseeing and taking in the sights, we boarded the bus back home to Torrijos and slept like a rock. Or in spanish, they say “dormir la mona” <sleeping the monkey>.