Thursday, July 4: I normally wake up every morning at 4:30-5 a.m. and can’t go back to sleep. While on this trip, I have still been waking up at 4:30 or 5, but after I get up and mess around on my blog or read emails, I find myself getting sleepy again. I allow myself the luxury to drift off again. This morning, I do the same, wake up early, then fall back to sleep, waking for the second time at 8:30, which is pretty nice for me. :-) I love being on vacation. I really don’t have to get up at all if I don’t feel like it!
Breakfast is served at La Posada de Manolo from 8:30-11, so I shower and go up to the terrace where I have a wonderful view of Catedral de Toledo. I have some coffee, eat some cold cuts (which seem to be the norm for breakfast in Spain, at least in the two places where I’ve stayed), drink some orange juice and enjoy the view from the terrace.
I head out to walk, following Lonely Planet Spain‘s Walking Tour: A Stroll Through History. On the way, I pass a ceramic plate in a shop doorway with the monuments of Toledo pictured.
I first head to the Plaza de Zocodover, which is the central point for everything in Toledo. The square is lined by cafes that are prime spots for people watching. According to Lonely Planet Spain, from 1465 to the 1960s, Zocodover was the scene of the city’s Tuesday market and successor to the Arab souq ad-dawab (livestock market), hence the name. For centuries, toledanos enjoyed their bullfights here, or gathered to watch public burnings at the stake during the Inquisition.
It’s too bad about that McDonald’s.
From the Plaza de Zocodover, I pass through the Arco de la Sangre on the eastern side of the square, heading to the Museo de Santa Cruz.
The 16th century Museo de Santa Cruz combines Gothic and Spanish Renaissance styles. I love the cloisters and the carved wooden ceilings. I walk through the museum, enjoying the mosaics, the porcelain plaques, the woodwork and the religious paintings and tapestries. I also enjoy the air-conditioning, as Toledo is quite hot. While Barcelona was about 25 degrees Celsius every day I was there, Toledo is about 38 (100 F). On these narrow winding and steep streets, with stone all around, the heat is trapped and I feel like I’m in an oven. Any chance I have to dip into air-conditioning is a sweet relief.
After leaving Museo de Santa Cruz, I head to Toledo’s famous Alcázar.