The most memorable experiences in life happen spontaneously, without much preparation and certainly – without any planning done in advance. When I think about the best times of my life, they were almost never expected – a sudden call from a friend, a coincidental meeting, or a wild urge to travel and be somewhere else. Last week I felt this exquisite desire to explore and simply breathe the air of a new place – and since it is one of my goals set to bring back the excitement in days, I let it conquer me and take me to the monumental ancient city of Toledo.
Toledo is located only seventy kilometers away from the capital of Spain, Madrid where I have the extreme pleasure to live during my university study abroad. It’s one of the oldest towns in Europe, also known as a land of tolerance and called “The City of The Three Cultures” where Muslims, Jews and Christians lived together throughout its long history. Each culture has its own neighborhood and walking through all of them, enjoying the differences and being bewildered by the similarities is an amazing and delightful experience.
And so, it was a sunny Saturday morning when my flatmates and I drank our coffee in a rush, and headed to the bus station at Plaza Elíptica where we caught the bus to Toledo. Apparently, it is an extremely desired destination because the first vehicle got filled in very quickly and we had to wait about half an hour for the next one to come and welcome us on its board.
We left Madrid with no plans and no clear intentions for the day. All we wanted to do was to enjoy the time spent together in a magnificent place. We got a map at the station, but still all we wanted to do was to wander calmly around the walled city located on a rocky hill, almost fully embraced by the hug of the Tajo River. In fact, Toledo felt as if we had taken the bus to the past times and had been sent back to the history – as preserved and traditional it is!
Following the advice of the man in the station, we first headed to the Christian neighborhood to see one of the most famous landmarks of Toledo, the Cathedral of María. It was truly spectacular – but to be honest, what impressed me most were the narrow meandering streets that led us there that were as if pressed by the old yellowish buildings with little terraces filled with blooming flowers.
The other sight of Toledo that took my breath away and brought sunshine to my soul was the view to the river and the hills that we discovered near the Sinagoga del Transito. It was stunning – even though or just because the sky was covered with grey clouds and the sun was slowly declining.
I fell in love with Toledo.
Our one-day trip to this magical, historical city will remain one of the greatest memories I have had in Spain. It wasn’t just the beauty of the place, though. It was the warmth and the friendship; the understanding and the acceptance, the hilarious jokes and the shared enjoyment. It was one of those rare moments when I know: I’m blessed.
Have you ever been to Toledo? Tell us about your Unique experience in the comment box!