Park Güell

Tuesday, December 8

Bob went out this morning to get a few groceries and all the local shops were closed!  He finally found somewhere to buy food for our last few meals in Barcelona. We discover that today is Immaculate Conception Day, a Spanish National Holiday, and almost all the shops are closed. I had planned on shopping for a few last minute souvenirs and some sketchbooks that I really liked. No luck, so we catch the metro to Park Güell, where we spend our last day in Spain.

Our walk from the metro to the park is all uphill! Luckily there are escalators for the very steepest part of the climb.  I liked the imagery of the two nuns walking in front of all the graffiti, and the ‘tree’ is actually a drain pipe with some sculptural concrete additions. I’m glad we don’t have to park here.Image-1

Park Güell is one of the most impressive public parks in the world.  It was designed by Antonio Gaudi for Eusebi Güell and construction on a garden city started in 1900. There were to be sixty single family homes built but the project wasn’t successful and only two homes were actually completed.  One of these, Gaudi’s residence, is now a museum and the other, Güell’s residence, is now a public school. The park became the property of the city of Barcelona in 1923 after Güell died and in 1984 it was declared a UESCO World Heritage Site.

We bought our tickets in advance as there are ‘only’ 400 people admitted to the Monumental Zone of the park every half hour.  While we waited, we got some refreshments from a little shop that was built right into the rock cliff face.  We entered at the Teatre Grec, or Nature Square, which is partly dug into the mountain and partly held up by the Hypostyle Room. There is a long undulating bench in the shape of a sea serpent which surrounds three sides of this square. The back of the bench forms a balustrade and the entire bench is covered in mosaics made with coloured ceramic shards most of which came from demolition projects and discarded objects.FullSizeRender

I read that Gaudi had a workman drop his pants and sit on soft plaster so that he could figure out the correct shape of the bench seat so that it would be comfortable!”

There are great views from the square, both of the main entrance with its two whimsical buildings, and of Barcelona, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. The house on the left was the porter’s residence and the building on the right is now the gift shop.FullSizeRender

The Hypostyle Room is under the square and it is a covered space that could be used for gatherings and markets. All the columns lean a bit this way or that, none of them are perpendicular to the ground.  The columns hold up the square and rainwater collected on the square is filtered down through the columns into a cistern underneath the floor. It is quite amazing.  Notice the dog’s head decoration.Image-1

At the main entrance there is the monumental flight of steps, flanked by two convex walls decorated with more mosaics, that leads up the Hypostyle Room.FullSizeRender

These are some of the many different, colourful mosaic tiles on these stairway walls. Image-1

There are sculptures and three fountains on this flight of stairs but this one is the most famous. This brightly coloured salamander, or dragon, depending on what we read is a favourite of the people of Barcelona and most visitors. Everyone wants to touch it and take their picture beside, or even sitting on the salamander. There is a guard assigned specifically to prevent people from touching the salamander to prevent further damage.  Thousands and thousands of touches eventually wear away the tiles and can cause breakage. It is an impossible job as nearly everyone attempts to make some sort of contact with this creature!FullSizeRender

We head towards Portico of the Washerwoman, which starts near the main entrance, with a spiral ramp and columns in the shape of a spiral curve that ends at a rough caryatid known as the Washerwoman because she carries a basket of washing. Image-1This ramp takes us back to the Nature Square and we spend some more time here, enjoying the sunshine and the views, along with a bit of people watching. FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender

On the other side of the square there is another walkway called Planters Viaduct, which we follow and end up in an interesting area with more strange leaning columns and stone chairs. This is such an incredible place!   I can only guess at the hours and hours it took to create all this and wonder at Gaudi’s incredible vision and imagination.FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender

There are so many fascinating details everywhere.  It really is a visual feast and almost too much to absorb in one visit. I would have loved to draw some of this but there just isn’t enough time to see everything and draw too.  Image-1On the way back to the square we meet this rather strange fellow.FullSizeRender

I rather reluctantly say goodbye to this wonderful place. Just outside the park gates I see a building, which appears to be unoccupied, and announce that it would make a perfect studio for me!  Oh well, I can dream, can’t I?FullSizeRender

I love these zebras we see on the walk back to the metro.
FullSizeRender

It is a good thing that we got most of our cleaning and packing finished last night as we had some unexpected excitement tonight.  The stairway in our apartment has one of those elevator chairs that run on a rail for handicapped people.  Tonight a woman was on her way down the stairs on the chair and it stopped working.  She was getting very upset and, even with Bob’s help, her husband was not able to get her out of the chair and down the stairs. Finally we suggested calling the fire department and soon they arrived. Six of these strong firefighters finally managed to get this poor lady out of her chair and safely down the stairs.  It was quite the procedure, and it meant that for almost two hours no one could go up or down the stairwell .Image 2016-05-22 at 12.09 PM

Finally, to bed, all packed and ready for the long flight home.

Our Second Correfoc!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The local festival taking place in our Barcelona neighbourhood this week has a Correfoc, or Fire Run tonight.  We went to the Mercé Correfoc in Barcelona the first week of our trip, and I am delighted to have another chance to experience this wild and crazy parade one more time. FullSizeRender

Wikipedia’s definition: Correfocs (Catalan pronunciation: [ˌkorəˈfɔks], Western Catalan: [ˌkoreˈfɔks]); literally in English “fire-runs”) are among the most striking features present in Catalan festivals. In the correfoc, a group of individuals will dress as devils and light fireworks – fixed on devil’s pitchforks or strung above the route. Dancing to the sound of a rhythmic drum group, they set off their fireworks among crowds of spectators. The spectators that participate dress to protect themselves against small burns and attempt to get as close as possible to the devils… running with the fire. Other spectators will watch from ‘safe’ distances, rapidly retreating as necessary.FullSizeRender

The Children’s Correfoc starts at six pm and we are both very surprised to see little devils actually carrying the fireworks.  We had assumed that adult devils would be setting off the fireworks and that it would just be a tamer version of the adult Correfuc we had seen earlier at the Mercé. Some of these little devils look barely four years old.

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender

There is so much excitement that it is palpable!  There are drummers, very loud drummers, and the noise from all the firecrackers and the participants and spectators.  During the Mercé Correfoc we attended in September we were pretty much stuck in one spot watching everyone go by. Here we are able to walk and run alongside the participants and follow them through the streets.  It is so much more fun!FullSizeRender FullSizeRender FullSizeRender

I even get brave enough to participate!

Image-1

The parade lasted for over an hour winding its way through the narrow streets.  We went back to our apartment to have dinner and then we head back out at 8:00 for the adult Correfoc.  It took us a while to find the beginning of the route and as we walked down a narrow street we noticed that the shop windows were all covered up with cardboard.  We soon found out why, as the parade came straight towards us! FullSizeRender

Remember, these streets are very narrow, so we ducked into a shallow doorway as the first devils passed us and we were showered with fireworks!  We quickly decided that we needed to get out of this street as there was no where to hide or move away from all the sparks.FullSizeRender

Did you notice the string of fireworks above the street on the last two photos?  We were very glad that we had decided to move into a nearby open area, as these fireworks were lit as the devils came by and they rained down on everyone below!FullSizeRender

It was quite the spectacle, and there were people running, screaming  and laughing as they tried to get out of the way.FullSizeRender

We are so amazed that all this is going on, and it probably could be quite dangerous but no one seems to think of that. It is totally crazy!! I am sure we would never be allowed to set fireworks off so close to buildings and people back home.  Here you can see the devils holding up their firework pitchforks and what it looked like as they were lit.Image-1

The participants and many of the people who are watching the parade dress up, and some of the costumes were quite ornate. Notice the flame thrower device in the bottom right picture!Image-1

In one open area we watch a Fire Eater, I was quite sure he was going to set himself or someone else on fire!  Image-1

The parade wound through the streets and we ran alongside, but I decided against participating this time.  The fireworks were bigger, hotter, and a bit intimidating. During the children’s Correfoc I got a cinder on the inside of my glasses and it actually burnt a small hole into my lens!  I shudder to think what would have happened if it had gone in my eye.  I am sure it would have burnt and scarred the surface of the cornea.  I learned my lesson, no more fire running without safety glasses.FullSizeRender

The monsters make their appearance for the adult parade and they are quite impressive, throwing fireworks all over as they spin and twirl through the streets.Image-1

The air is thick with smoke and at times it is even hard to breathe!FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender

There are some very acrobatic devils and they run and climb fences and other structures along the route all the better to shower their fire onto the crowd.  Image-1

I want to follow the parade right to the end but it has been going for over two hours and I reluctantly agree that we can go home.  I am exhausted from all the excitement and following two parades for over three hours!  This video of the Correfoc is like the one that we saw in September at the Mercé and it gives an idea of the noise and excitement these parades generate.  If you want to see more, just Google Correfoc, Barcelona and there are lots of videos.

 

Teatre del Liceu, Casa Batlló and Strange Plants

While we were walking down La Rambla on our way to the Gran Teatre del Liceu my eyes caught site of some very interesting packets of seeds for sale at one of the many sidewalk vendors. We both had quite a chuckle when we took a closer look at these unusual seed packets.  However, be warned, these are rather X rated plants! imageBarcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu was founded in 1847 and is located on La Ramba, which is the centermost boulevard in Barcelona. It is very popular with tourists and locals and is always crowded with people enjoying the sights.  We have a short tour which includes the Vestibule, the Hall of Mirrors and the Auditorium.  Our guide explains about the cheapest seats, in the galliner which translates literally to the “henroost” and we buy tickets for Monday night which will be our second last night in Barcelona.  The tickets are only €15, we certainly cannot afford the €325 seats!  Imagine paying $1,000 CAN for a night at the opera!

This historic theatre has a very interesting history that includes two fires, the latest occurred in 1994 and completely destroyed the Auditorium. There is a good short video and more information about the Gran Teatre del Liceu here.image

After our tour, we walk several blocks to one of Antoni Gaudi’s incredible buildings, Casa Batlló.  We have tickets to go inside, €22.50 each, expensive, but we really enjoyed the visit.  FullSizeRender

I took lots of pictures but then found this video that shows almost the same photos as those I took, so I will include the link to the video.  Watching it made me feel like I was back there walking through the building.  I have also included a second video which is a more fanciful walk through Casa Batlló, but it does give a sense of walking through the rooms.  The little balcony at the very top of the building, it is the same one we stood on to take this photo.FullSizeRender_2

Did you notice that the building looks like it has been made from skulls and bones? The “skulls” are the balconies and the “bones” are supporting pillars.FullSizeRenderThe building was designed by Gaudí for Josep Batlló, a wealthy aristocrat. Señor Batlló lived in the lower two floors with his family and the upper floors were rented out as apartments.  Today there are still private individuals living in the apartments.  Imagine living in such building, and imagine having hundreds, or even thousands of people touring through your apartment building every day! There were several photos of the interior with its original furnishings, which I found very interesting.FullSizeRender

We climb up to the roof with its crazy chimneys and its famous ‘Dragon’ spine and great views over the neighbourhood rooftops.FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender_3 FullSizeRender_2

FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender_2

By the time we finally see everything it is getting dark outside and the Casa Batlló is illuminated with coloured lights.FullSizeRender_4

There are many interesting buildings on this street including several shops with beautiful window displays.Image-1

We also notice many more police on the streets than when we were in Barcelona in September, no doubt a result of the terrorist attacks in Paris. I don’t know if I will ever get used to seeing police with so many weapons. the picture is blurry as I zoomed in from a distance.  I discovered they do not appreciate tourists taking photos!FullSizeRender_3

As we walk back towards La Rambla we come across an area with lots of food trucks so we have supper, enjoy the Christmas lights, and watch all the people. The streets are packed with hundreds of people out enjoying the evening.FullSizeRender_2

FullSizeRender_2

The side streets are lined with motorbikes and scooters, row after row of them.  They are a very practical mode of transportation in a city that has next to no place to park cars.FullSizeRender_3

A crowd has gathered around a huge Christmas tree and before long a group of young carollers arrive and the lights are turned on.  FullSizeRender_5 Image-1

Hundreds of Swarovski crystal snowflakes decorate the tree! We stay to listen to the carollers and we both start feeling rather Christmassy!FullSizeRender

On the way home I had to stop in the Mobile World Centre as there were some great dinosaur displays, it seemed to have something to do with a new Samsung phone? The centre is open to the public and showcases the latest technology, applications and innovations in the area of mobility but I was really only interested in the dinosaurs!FullSizeRender

 

Seville to Algeciras

Wednesday, November 11

On our way to Algeciras in Southern Spain we stop for a visit to Cadiz. Our faithful iPad GPS has bit of a panic attack as it thinks we are trying to drive into the ocean!  Seems it doesn’t know about this big new bridge yet!imageCadiz juts out into the Bay of Cadiz and is almost entirely surrounded by water.  It also claims to be Europes’s oldest city. Legend says Hercules was its founder but historians credit the Phoenicians with establishing the town in 1100 BC!  Cadiz is also where Christopher Columbus first sailed from to discover America.  We once more find a parking lot almost by accident.  Parking near the old town part of Spanish cities is always difficult because the streets are so narrow that there just isn’t much room for cars.  This abandoned building in the center of town right next to well kept occupied buildings is something we have seen everywhere in Spain.
imageHere is an interesting link to abandoned villages in Spain that are for sale.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2576711/Buy-ghost-village-50-000-Thousands-abandoned-Spanish-hamlets-sale-price-London-garage.html

The 2008 economic crash was a major factor in so many buildings being empty and/or abandoned in Spain.

We visit an old fortress that now houses several art studios and exhibit spaces.imageI quite liked this fellow.imageIt was a lovely day and we wanted to enjoy the sunshine so we wandered the streets instead of visiting another cathedral or museum.  This gull kindly posed for me with the Cadiz Cathedral in the background.imageThe fish market is always an interesting place to visit. Being born and raised in Alberta far from the ocean, I have no idea how one cooks, or eats most of the fish we see, but I think more fish is eaten here than beef, chicken or pork.image

We stop for tea at a little Pastelaria and sit with a view of this lovely pink building with this balcony and its pink flowers. I love just watching people as we sit and relax for a bit.image

The streets in the old town are very narrow, and we manage to get a bit lost looking for the Torre Tavira which was the city’s watchtower in the 18th century.  It has been converted into a camera obscura and I wanted to see that.  By the time we found it we realized we as didn’t have time to see it as the next tour was in an hour, and lasted forty five minutes.  We need to be on the road again before then, so reluctantly I leave without getting to see the camera obscura I was so curious about.  If you are curious too, check out the information here.    http://bhamobscura.com/2014/12/inspirational-obscura-torre-de-tavira-torre-tavira/image

We walk out towards the fortress on this long causeway but don’t have time to visit it either. It is time to head back to the car and continue on to Algeciras and our next apartment.

image

Thursday, November 12 Algeciras

We have a quiet day today, do some laundry and relax in our new apartment.  We have a penthouse on the seventh floor, with views of the mountains from the balcony on the west side and we can see Gibraltar from the balcony on the East side of the apartment!  It is pretty spectacular.image image

 

Parque Maria Louisa, Seville

Sunday, November 8

There are several parks in Seville and one of the biggest is the Parque María Louisa, which is where we spend the afternoon today. We saw a lot of people dressed in T shirts, coloured tutus and tights covered in what looked like powdered paint. These two young ladies posed for me. Everyone looked like they were having a great time but we had no idea what it was all about.image

I did some internet searching later and find out what the Colour Run is all about. Check out this link.  https://ca.thecolorrun.com/about/   Basically it is a 5 km fun race whose objective is to have fun and get doused with coloured powder and party with a lot of other people! Eleven thousand people took part in Seville’s Color Run this year. I have included a link to a short youtube video that gives a pretty good idea of what it is all about.     https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=y8bboQxGp9E

We had lots of fun just watching all the brightly coloured people walking by us after they finished the race and the after race party.  Wish we had known about it in time to go watch the fun. It is an interesting day.  We watch a bit of a dog show in Plaza de Espána. The very big and very small dog in the photo below were very interested in getting to know one another.imageThe Plaza de Espána was built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. It is a huge curved building complete with a semi circular canal.image  We caught a glimpse of Cinderella and the Prince who is running after her!imageThe railings all along this building are blue and white ceramic with colourful ceramic posts.imageThere are towers at each end of the building, which I read was used as a set in one of the Star Wars movies.  We walked along the exact same route as Luke Skywalker in this short clip from the movie!   https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mVQyW1n5ECY     image

This sculpture, The Glorieta de Bécquer, depicts the three phases of love and someone had placed a fresh bouquet of white flowers in the arms of the woman depicting love passing. I thought it was very lovely and poignant.imageOne of the many water features in the park.  This one had very well fed ducks, who refused to eat yet another piece of bread, much to the disappointment of some cute little girls with their bags of food for the ducks.imageWe watched people rowing on the canal, who had waited in a very long line up for the opportunity to circumnavigate the canal. Can you spot Bob?image

One of the many wide paths through the park, which has a wide variety of very large trees.  It was a lovely place to while away an afternoon.
image

A Relaxing Day at the Beach

Friday, October 30

Our Algarve beach of choice today is Praia dos Trés Castelos, which is on the other side of the big rocks at the west end of the beach we visited yesterday. This is our first view of this beach from up near the parking lot.imageThere are lots of stairs to get down to the beach, and of course we will have to walk back up them at the end of the day!  We walk to the end of the beach and find a sheltered area near these cliffs.  It is quite windy today so a bit of a wind break is nice. We build ourselves a couple of sand beach chairs.image

We sit for a couple of hours just watching the waves and the other people on the beach. There are actually people in the water, in bikinis, and I’m sitting here with all my clothes and two sweaters!imageWe have been watching people go through the cave at the bottom of this cliff., so we go explore where it goes.image

Turns out it is a pathway to the beach we were on yesterday. We climb some nearby stairs to get a view of both beaches from the top…imageand then we climb these stairs back down to the beach to walk back towards our car park.

imageBob checks out the incoming tide, which does manage to get him a wee bit wet.imageThis little boy ran back and forth repeatedly as the waves rolled onto the shore. He was having such fun! image image image

We sit for at least an hour just watching the tide come in, and two kids playing in the surf with their sand castle, but it is getting cold so we decide to leave. One last picture as we climb the big flight of stairs back to our car.  I forgot my camera at the apartment today so had to use the camera on the cell phone.image

The walkway back to the car here is cobbled as well. I really like these walkways and streets.

image

 

 

 

Praia de Rocha (Rock Beach) Portimâo, Portugal

Wednesday, October 28

Travel days are a bit tough for me so I have a quiet morning at our apartment and Bob goes exploring,  He returns to tell me that the beach here is amazing. We decide we will go explore it tomorrow. This is the view from our apartment balconey today.

image

Thursdsay, October 29

Today we drive to the Praia de Roche Beach as it is at least a half hour walk and I don’t feel up to that today.image

There is a long cement pier at the far end of the beach so we make our way there and walk out to the end of it where there is a little lighthouse.imageThe view of the beach area with all the buildings behind it is very pretty when the sun shines.image

These colours and shapes of these condos remind of us Hurghada in Egypt.image

The waves are crashing against the pier and we do get a little bit wet.imageOn the way back we watch a few fishermen.  One of them caught a flat fish but he wasn’t too talkative and pretty much ignored us so we didn’t learn much. This is the first person we have encountered who hasn’t been very friendly. The fishermen here are using the very long poles we have seen elsewhere.image

A few minutes later Bob spots this fishing boat returning along with its many friends!  It was hilarious, all the noise and so many gulls all trying to get something to eat.  We had quite a few laughs watching this boat go by, with its parade of very noisy gulls.imageThere were lots of these little fish in the water, some of them were over a foot long, but no one seemed the least bit interested in them.  There must be someone out there who knows what they are and why no one was fishing them?imageI thought it was quite cool today, but this little guy was having so much fun running in and out of the waves that he didn’t seem bothered by the cold water at all!  Europeans seem much more accepting of children running about without bathing suits which I think is great.image It is getting to be late afternoon and the sun is sinking so we head back to our apartment, after stopping at the grocery store to stock up for the week.  image

We seem to  spend a lot of time in the grocery stores, but both of us find it quite interesting. Of course most of the brands are different, the writing is usually all in Portuguese or Spanish and we see things we have never seen in the food stores before. One thing I find quite surprising is the lack of choice in fresh fruits and vegetables.  It is definitely a case of what is available in season and there doesn’t seem to be very many imported fruits and vegetables.  Often the bins aren’t refrigerated either, so the quality of the fresh produce is not as good as back home.  Peppers are often wrinkly, there are usually only red peppers, occasionally some green, but rarely yellow or orange peppers, and when I have found them they are crazy expensive and not very fresh.  The other thing we have discovered is that you don’t want to go the last hour or so in the evening because everything is very picked over, and many of the fruits and vegetables bins are completely empty. One item that is very hard to find is herbal teas. There are very few choices but some of them just aren’t very appealing.  I’m still looking for plain old mint tea!

Cascais and the Casino

Friday October 23

We drove to Cascais today, a town about a half hour west of where we are staying near Lisbon. We walked along the pedestrian streets and visited a few shops, but no purchases.  Everything I like is either too expensive or too big or fragile to get home.  The cobblestone street was a bit disorienting as it created a bit of an optical illusion.imageThere were some people on the beach making sand sculptures to earn a bit of money.imageWe walked down along the docks past the fishing boat area and then through the Cascais Marina, which were both in the shadow of ancient fortress walls.
image  The view from the Marina back towards town.imageWe passed this interesting house, or maybe a small castle? on our walk towards the Boca de Inferno.imageBoca de Inferno, or Hell’s Mouth, is an interesting cliff formation about a forty minute walk from Cascais.The pounding of the Atlantic Ocean on the cliffs chiseled out a small cave, which then collapsed. There is a walkway so it is visible from both sides.image image imageBob wanted me to take this picture, he said it reminded him of a jigsaw puzzle.imageThe fortress walls I mentioned earlier now house a hotel and a bunch of artist studios, which unfortunately were all closed, but this quaint little bookstore was open.imageIt was full of interesting things, including this unique piece of furniture, made of all sorts of recycled bits of wood.  My nephew in Portland has started woodworking and has buit some beautiful pieces. I thought he might like to see this.image

The courtyard also had a few different sculptures, including these giant binoculars.

imageWe walk back above the dock with all the fishing paraphernalia that we walked by earlier.imageWe found a nice bit of beach and spent an hour or so just relaxing, watching the waves and the people.imageOn the way home we stop at a Casino in Estoril.  It is supposed to be the biggest Casino in Europe, but we are only able to find half a floor of slot machines on the main floor, and the gaming tables are closed.  Our casinos at home seem bigger than this one…We spent a couple of hours, won some and lost some and in the end it cost us 10€. 
image

Caxias, Portugal

Tuesday, October 21

Caxias is a community about a fifteen minute train ride on the coast west of Lisbon.  It is our home base for the next week. Bob went exploring the neighbourhood this morning while I had some quiet time after our travel day yesterday.  Later in the afternoon we went for a walk along the ocean, which is just a couple blocks from our apartment. image

I was looking for treasures and I found a few intersting shells, but the most interesting thing was all the jelly fish on the beach.  They were huge, between 12″ to 18″ across and there were a lot of them washed ashore by the waves.  No way I was going into the water here, even if it had been warmer.image

There were several large military looking vessels as well as quite a few other boats. I enjoy being by the ocean but I have to admit I am quite happy being on the beach watching the water.  I really don’t have much of an urge to actually go into the water, or even on the water.  Boating is OK but it is certainly not one of my favourite things.image

We spend quite a bit of time watching this fellow get ready to fish.  He was putting sand in his white bucket and then mashing it around with a big metal tool.  We were trying to figure out what you doing, and then when he was ready to fish he threw some of this sand into the water. We think he must have been mashing up some bait with the sand and that he was using it to attract other fish. He seemed to be a very patient, methodical sort of fellow.imageWe enjoyed our time on the beach, watching the water and the other people on the beach, then we headed home for a nice supper.imageimage

Toledo to Merida

Saturday, October 17

We are on our way to Toledo this morning, and then on to Merida where we have our next apartment.  Yesterday we stayed home for a bit of rest and to pack and get ready for today.  This view is from the cafeteria on the top floor of the public library in Toledo.imageWe literally travelled in circles looking for a library of ancient manuscripts and books. The Information center sent us to the library, but it was the public library and they told us that what we wanted was likely closed but that we could go see, so we went there, but where they sent us wasn’t the right place.  A second information lady gave us different information. We found out it was in the Alcázar museum, so we went there, only they told us we needed to go back to the library and that the collection was a special room there.  The same library that sent us elsewhere!  Only problem was that it closed at 2:00 and it is now ten to two!  We give up, deciding that we just weren’t meant to see these manuscripts.  Too bad, I would really have enjoyed the chance to at least have a look at them. One of the stops on our way to find the elusive manuscripts overlooks a winding road and the hills on the edge of town.imageWe did find this statue of Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote’s La Mancha.imageThe streets are very narrow and Toledo is a very hilly town.  We seem to be either climbing up or down steps and streets. Once again, we are out and about when a lot of the shops and businesses are closed. This 2:00 to 5:00 lunch hour just doesn’t work for us.  We are usually home by 8:00, and it seems everyone else is just starting to think about their evening’s meal and entertainment.imageWe take a tea break and have this great view of the Toledo Cathedral, but neither of us really feel like going inside, instead we sit in the sun and watch the people in the square.  Great people watching!image

There are lots of knives and swords for sale here, apparently they are made locally. I have a friend who makes beautiful knives and thought he might like seeing these.image imageThere is lots more to see in Toledo but we are tired and need to get on the road to Merida to meet our next host at 8:00.  We drive in pouring rain for the last couple of hours and it continues to come down in buckets when we arrive in Merida, but we meet Ana, our host, and we love our new apartment.image

We have been very pleased with all of our Airbnb apartments so far.  Let’s hope our luck lasts.  I love seeing all the apartments and it is so nice having a kitchen.  We are making most of our meals as that works so much better with my dietary restrictions.imageimage