Saturday, May 23, 2009

A pleasant afternoon in Toledo

Still, can't complain too much as I have had a lovely time here in Madrid. Working with some lovely, positive colleagues, drinking Sangria, eating local food in local restaurants, doing (almost all the work I had set out to do) and, yesterday afternoon, being taken by my colleagues to visit Toledo!

What a treat! No more than an hour's drive on the empty toll road from Madrid, the old royal city with its narrow streets, imposing gothic cathedral and palaces, mighty gates, and old bridges crossing the river which loops around the city. Full of tourists, it must be said - I saw more here in the first five minutes than in a whole week in Albania! It was hot when we arrived at 4, very hot even (although I told my colleagues that we normally don't say that in everyday English - very warm or hot, but not usually very hot (unless referring to an extremely attractive person!). Not sure if I am right though.

Anyway, we walked around for about four hours, keeping to the shade and trying to catch any breeze going, stopping every so often to look at the views and the range of tourist memorabilia on sale, like fluffy bulls _ such a contrast to the blood sport which is si popular amongst many Spaniards

Also flffy donkeys, gladiator helmets (it looked as if Svetlana Loboda might have sources her dancers impressive helmets from here), armour, swords, knives, flamenco dresses with polka dots, tiles saying that 'Here lives (or works) an artist, banker, engineer, adjuster, teacher and everyone except an accountant (who would probably be too sensible to buy such nonsense, there was also moorish tiles, Italian style painted pottery, pottery dolls and metal ckights in armour riding horses. I regret not buying one of these for Harry. Never mind.

We saw guests arriving at a wedding. All the women elegantly dressed, not a grey hair in sight, however old they might be, many red shoes, the men all in dark shoes, not a poorly dressed person in sight (conrast witha typical Dutch wedding). I was assured that these were normal people, not rich, as hey would to English or Dutch eyes seem to be. Inside, as the service started, they played a tape of the wedding march hummed by a choir in Abba style. Endearing!

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