Friday, July 5: This morning, I am once again annoyed by my habit of waking up at 5 a.m. I lie in bed and check emails and mess around with my blog, but, eventually, I find myself getting drowsy. I fall into a welcome slumber. I must be exhausted because this doesn’t happen often. I sleep until nearly 10:00. 🙂 Finally, my body is getting the hint that I’m on holiday.
I have to get up and get dressed, otherwise I’ll miss breakfast which is only served until 11. I eat breakfast on the terrace right under the wire, and then I spend some more time lying around reading and relaxing. I don’t know how much energy I have to tackle the sweltering streets of Toledo. I decide I’ll go in search of Mezquita Cristo de la Luz, have a late lunch, and then come back to my room and nap. I may as well: the afternoon siesta in Spain happens for a reason. It’s too hot to do anything else. In the late afternoon all the shops are shuttered and the streets are quiet. Only foolhardy people like myself wander about at these hours. I think I’m finally learning to fall into the rhythms of life in Spain.
I wander through the streets and decide to walk up toward the Alcazar garage, where my car has been parked. I ask them what time they open in the morning, because I want to get an early start tomorrow morning to drive to Malaga. They tell me they’re open 24 hours. I also am debating driving to Consuegra to see the windmills. I debate and debate and ultimately decide against it because Consuegra is right along the drive south. Why bother driving there today? I’ll just need to build in an extra hour to make a stop there.
I take some more photos of the Alcazar from the outside.
I then go up the elevator to the library to see the views from a small shabby cafeteria. All I want to do is to take pictures, but the cafeteria people look at me like I’m an interloper since I’m not buying any food. I think a place like the Alcazar should have a public viewing area; after all it’s the highest point in Toledo and could offer magnificent views. But there’s only one small open window; the others are closed. Here’s what I see.
On my way back to Zocodover Plaza, I stop to sample one piece of Marzipan Delicia. Toledo is famous for its marzipan, so I figure I should sample some while here. It is quite delicia!
I continue strolling through the streets of Toledo. I seem to be moving a lot slower lately.
I go back to my room after making a stop to buy two cute tops at a shop near my hotel. I relax for a bit, then head back out to Mezquita Cristo de la Luz.
This 1,000-year old mosque was built in the Caliphate period. Two centuries later, it was transformed into a church and an apse was added, following the Mudejar style of the old building.
By now it is nearly 2:00 and I want some respite from the heat and lunch. I find this little restaurant, Posada El Cristo de la Luz. It’s not air-conditioned, so I almost leave, but the owner is so charming, he convinces me to stay. It is cooler than outside, and it becomes quite pleasant after I sit for awhile and rest near a fan. I order a glass of chilled white wine because I plan to nap this afternoon.
I also order some Tagine because I think I overhear the word prawns, but it obviously does not have prawns. It does have plenty of beef though. It is so delicious, with it’s cinnamon flavored gravy, that I feel like each bite is a small taste of heaven.
On my way out, I ask the owner where he’s from and he says Aleppo, Syria. He misses his country tremendously and fears for the safety of his family members. Luckily, he’s safe in Spain.
After lunch, I go into the museum of Mezquita Cristo de la Luz and into the mosque.
The vaults are partial or total reproductions of the vaulted ceilings in the mosque of Cordoba, the capital of Al-Andalus.
The presbytery is decorated with Romanesque fresco paintings. On the vault, Christ in Majesty is surrounded by the four symbols of the Evangelists.
After visiting the mosque, I decide to return to my hotel and take a rest. I actually take a nap for a couple of hours. Only around 8:00 do I head back to Restaurant Alcazar, where I order a set menu of gazpacho, hake fish fried in batter with potatoes, accompanied by una cerveza and followed by flan for dessert, all for 10 euros.
Back at the hotel, I start preparing for my trip to Malaga tomorrow morning. Before I go to sleep, I visit the hotel terrace to see the Cathedral all lit up.
It’s a lovely day, and I’m really glad I got a lot of rest. I need to learn to relax more while traveling and not run myself into the ground. 🙂