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The little adventures of Jo! Travel with me on my overdue gap year around the world :)

Leaving Madrid

SPAIN | Saturday, 1 June 2013 | Views [290]

Waking up at 6am to go to Zaragoza was a difficult feat. Before waking up, I was dreaming that my phone had become dysfunctional, ringing constantly. I battled with trying to make it stop - switching it off, taking the charger off, checking the electrical sockets. I even complained to my Mum that I couldn't make it stop. That is of course until I woke up and realized my alarm was going off. I'm still half asleep.

I tried to get an early start going to Toledo yesterday. I woke up on time but wasn't feeling it, so I decided to lounge in bed for longer, thinking I could catch the 10.20am train. Of course, it was fully booked when I got to the station at 10am and my only option was the 12.20pm train . I wasn't too bothered by this as it gave me some time to explore Retiro Park a little bit more, which was just around the corner. The day was beautiful and the rose garden I visited was special.
 
I got to Toledo around 1pm and left the city on the 7.20pm train, arriving just in time for an hour at the Reinas Sofia Museum. I was hoping to see Picasso's masterpiece, Guernika, but unfortunately didn't find it - thanks to the museum layout, bad signage and rude staff that wanted to close the galleries before closing time. All these things seem so consistently eminent in Spain, I was quite annoyed by the end of it all. Maybe I was just tired too.
 
Toledo was well worth the trip though. Still as it was in the Middle ages, the historic quarter of this interesting city is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The architecture was uniquely stunning, influenced by the three cultures/religions that have co-existed together - Christian, Jewish and Muslim. While, the city may seem more Christian than the other two, you can still see the influences they have, if you look close enough. Navigating through the city with a badly written self-guided tour and a terrible map was hard work, but being lost in such a city was an experience in itself.
 
The Cathedral for me was the highlight of the visit. Originally a mosque, the building has been there since 600AD. With such history, there was so much to discover and it provided such a great insight to how life was back then. Immensely huge with outrageously intricate Gothic fixtures had me turning every corner in awe. Seeing structures like the Cathedral always leaves me in a state of wonder about the effort people used to put into details on a building a few hundred years ago compared to now. The extravagance of it all is the complete opposite of all the streamlined designs we see today.
 
I'm currently on my train to Zaragoza, another important historical city of different cultures. I'll be staying overnight and heading to Barcelona tomorrow. I could've taken the high speed three hour train to Barcelona but this works out better for me. I get to see another city en route and don't have to pay extra for reservation fees! Now to catch up on some sleep... but the countryside is a little too beautiful to miss.

Tags: cities, european adventure, museums, sightseeing, trains

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