My alarm went off at 7:35 in the morning. Most days I would be sluggish in getting myself up but I had a sense of rejuvenation because on this day I would be making my way to Toledo with my USAC program.
I made it to our meeting point in front of our host university, Universidad de Rey Juan Carlos, with a few minutes to spare.
It was a chilly morning with some expectation of rain to come but nevertheless, we were on our way to our destination by 9:00am.
On the way to Toledo
The first stop we made was at a nearby souvenir and coffee shop for a bathroom and coffee break.
The shop was buzzing with the preparation of popular Spanish coffee drinks such as cafe con leche (milk and coffee) and cappuccinos.
Multiple study abroad students from a variety of programs were visiting Toledo for the day, in addition to us USAC students. All of us were anxiously awaiting our caffeine fix.
We continued on our way to Toledo as one of our tour guides was nice enough to talk us through all of the sites we passed on our bus ride.
Arriving in Toledo
Upon arriving in Toledo we were treated to the spectacular sight of the layout of the land from sky to sky.
We hopped back on the bus to continue to the starting point of our walking tour for the day. We made our final stop at the bridge of Toledo which also provided grand views of the Tajo River and the city we would soon be walking through.
We then got into our tour guide groups for the day. I got the opportunity to listen to ‘Taco’, our tour guide who spoke Spanish instead of English and hear about the history and culture of Toledo through him.
We walked across the bridge while passing an advertisement to go zip-lining. While it looked really adventurous and fun, it was raining quite hard and I was definitely trying to stay indoors if I could!
Our first indoor stop was the Museo Sefardi in the El Transito Synagogue where we walked through and saw various treasures such as The Plato O Fuente De Pascua and Joyas Judeoberberes that are all about the history of Jewish people in Spain.
Next, we made our way to the Church of Santo Tome where we heard about the magnificent painting by El Greco entitled, the Burial of the Count of Orgaz. Afterward, we were allowed some time for exploring and my friends and I came across a store with Lord of the Rings themed souvenir gifts, which I thought was pretty funny considering where we were.
We stopped for lunch at a hipster looking restaurant where I tried Castellano soup for the first time. Castellano soup is a traditional Castilian garlic soup that is made with egg and bread. It came with a delicious looking tarta as part of the menu of the day.
After lunch, we headed to the Iglesia de Las Jesuits and found another fantastic view of El Cielo de Toledo. You had to walk up numerous stairs but the view was worth it!
We finished our tour with a look at the absolutely gorgeous Cathedral of Santa Maria de Toledo. It was breath-taking and filled with historic and interesting paintings, stain-glassed windows, and mosaics.
We topped off our day with a treat at a pastry shop called Santo Tome. I regret not trying the traditional Spain desert of Marzipan, so if you get the opportunity to try it, you should!
Overall I really enjoyed my trip to Toledo and I am absolutely sure the rest of my USAC Program group would agree.
Cristina Cisneros is a student from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is currently studying abroad in Madrid, Spain for the Spring 2017 term.