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Travelling: Toledo

Located about an hour on an express train out of Atocha is the historic city of Toledo.

The train journey was quick and pleasant, once I found the right platform. There are security barriers and a slight panic when I realised I didn't have my passport on me (you don't need it). 

A short walk from the station, again avoiding the tour guides that pepper the station, and the ancient city of Toldeo quickly comes into view.

One of my most stunning morning walks, topped perhaps by Lake Bled in Slovenia. 

Crossing the bridge you ascend a rather steep hill to the top of the city. Do take the time to take in teh amazing architecture. This place is full of it. That's a museum.

Cervantes again. 

The building at the highest point is the Alcazar of Toledo. Originally built by the Romans it was restored in the 16th century. It's now an administrative building and apparently there's a military museum within it.

The stairs down from the eastern side lead to a stunning viewpoint over the local area. The large building is a hospital and the castle is now a youth hostel. How could would it be to stay there.

Plenty of back streets with so much character.

The main tourist attraction in the city is the Cathedral and getting a free audio tour with the ticket provided me with a good reason to spend quite a bit of time in there.

It's construction started in the 13th century and it is now deemed to be the one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the country. I'm not one for religious buildings but on this scale it's hard not to be impressed.

Random big mural.

One of the retables within the cathedral.

At the Eastern end is a stunning sculpture called El Transparente. A ridiculously carved alter with an opening opposite through which the sun beams through illuminating the piece.

A series of rooms within the annexe includes more art pieces and with a subtle nod to The Vatican I was reminded of just how opulent and hypocritical religion can be.

Around a small cloister are some amazing murals that tell a story that I can't recall from the audio tour. I spent ages here just taking in the detail.

Some restoration work has been going on in one of the small rooms close to the murals. 

The main lectern could easily have come from Hogwarts.

More amazing details. This is one of the gothic doors.

Some exteriors of the cathedral. Unlike Estoril the day before the skies were being much kinder to me allowing plenty of walking outdoors. Toledo was lovely.

The city used to house Jews, Christians and Muslims who all managed to co-exist. It perhaps show how backwards we've become that now this doesn't seem to be possible.

Within the monastery there's a different style of architecture but still stunning.

The Western gate to the city. 

I decided to head back to the station by walking around the northern edge of the city.

The Alcala stands dominant!

Rather than cross the river at the historical bridge, I went for the mode modern one to it's north. I'm not sure the pano photo works with the sun in the way.

and back at Toledo station with plenty of time to spare.

Toledo was my favourite part of the Madrid leg. The city is so beautiful and I could easily have spent more time there. Unfortunately I had set train tickets and didn't want to purchase another to stay longer. 

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