It was a sad day for Doug. Upon leaving Madrid we headed, by train, to Toledo the first capital of Spain. Since we were only going for three days, we decided to leave a couple of our bags in the lockers at the train station. Doug travels with two chef kitchen knives. It hasn’t been a problem because they travel in his checked luggage.
When we entered the locker storage area at Estacion de Atocha in Madrid we were surprised our bags had to go through the X-Ray security machine. This is the train station that was bombed by terrorists a few years back. It’s the only time we’ve gone through security in a train station.
The security guard wouldn’t let Doug keep his knives; not to take on the train or to store in the lockers or to dump in the trash (unless he took them to trash outside the station). Security would not confiscate them. This all happened in Spanish, the security guards did not speak English. Since this was eating up our time and we had a train to catch Doug’s only option was to give the knives to a restaurant kitchen in the train station. So, that’s what he did. It was so sad, one knife was a gift from Jason, the other from Erin. So many memories of great kitchen times and meals prepared. The grieving process had begun. So go the adventures of travel.
On to Toledo. This is a walled city on a hill, about an hour outside Madrid. The city is protected on three sides by the Tajo River. It boasts a rich Jewish, Moorish, and Christian heritage which continues to make it a tourist attraction today. It looked to us like many of the Roman villages we visited in France but much larger. A closer look shows the multi-cultural influences. Toledo is said to be the historic, artistic and spiritual center of Spain.
Toledo was the first capital of Spain until the king wanted to expand his castle. Being on a hill surrounded by a river left no room for expansion. A new palace was built in Madrid, the capital moved and the rest is, as they say, history.
There were many historical, artistic and spiritual sites to visit in Toledo. Needless to say we didn’t see it all. We did our share of ‘getting lost’ in the maze of tiny streets and sitting at the outdoor cafes watching the other tourists. I must confess, we also visited McDonalds for breakfast one day. The gooey cheese food stuck to my teeth in a nasty way. Only the real deal for me after that. Above are some sights of Toledo.
Another thing Toledo is known for is it’s steel. Yup, they make great things of steel, swords, cutlery, scissors, and of course, knives. It took a few days of looking before Doug was ready to replace his beloved tools. But, in the end, with much assurance that as long as the knives are wrapped and include a receipt, Renfe, the train company, will allow the transport. Here are the new kitchen tools:
Not to be opened until on U.S. soil. We did check at the post office in Toledo about mailing these babies home. We were told they could give no guarantees on how they would be handled once they enter the U.S.A. In other words, they didn’t know if U.S. officials would allow delivery. Hmm, guess we’ll carry them home.
We’re off to Seville via Madrid. It’s how the train goes so how we go too. The trains are nice and fast. If you get a seat facing another seat, leg room is minimal for Doug. But overall, not a bad way to travel.
Hasta la vista. Via con Dios.