Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wednesday/Thursday (SFO to Toledo)...

With a skeptical eye on the roving plume of volcanic ash meandering around Europe, we headed to SFO with an 'on time' notice from United. Soon enough, our pilot had received our 'slot' in the approved route guiding North American travelers safely over the north Atlantic and we were on our way. Our path to Frankfurt was notably more southern than in previous trips, but we only arrived 15 minutes late! Not bad at all given the dicey conditions. Along the way, we met a jolly German woman returning home from a trip to California--her two glasses of Champagne made her VERY chatty--and a middle-aged American man traveling solo to Florence. (Sigh...Florence!!!)

A light rain tapered off as we landed. Maybe the rain is what kept the ash at bay. No sooner had we stepped out of our gate in Frankfurth, than Jeff spotted his friend Tom from his Detroit days! What a small world. Cramming as many happy 'what's new' comments as possible into a 15min chat, and we were back on track to find our Lufthansa gate to Madrid. A shoulder-to-shoulder bus wisked us out to our plane...a cramped little number compared to the 747 that brought us across the pond.

The Alps and Pyrenees broke up the fertile green checkerboard fileds of Europe as we flew south. These were our first fleeting glimpses of Spain and its arid terrain. We landed in Madrid and zipped through arrivals. Then it was a short 15min taxi ride downtown to the Atocha train station to catch a high-speed AVE train to Toledo. The station is beautiful and bright...but no photos allowed :( Damn terrorists. For the 30min hop to Toledo, we sat across from a chatty father-daughter traveling team from Oregon nearing the end of their journey. They shared cautionary tales of pick pockets. (Unemployment in Spain is 20 percent!)

In the blink of an eye we were disembarking in Toledo...the well-preserved former capital of Spain. Our hotel is right in the midst of the historic city housed in a beautiful historic building. A quick shower returned us to human status. We spent the late afternoon wandering the windy streets passing by sights...the cathedral, lots of tucked-away churches, and tiny alleys...all whose names I have already forgotten. They will all stick when we actually visit them tomorrow :)

We found a cozy tapas restaurant for a late dinner (9:30) under a clear sky with a perfect breeze. Potatoes, a spanich fritatta, beef and gorganzola, and two icy beers. Wonderful!

We took the long route home through deserted streets. A few nighttime photos to document the peaceful scene.

We will sleep well tonight :) Buenos noches.

1 comment:

Matthias said...

Is Spanich spanish for spinach?

Glad you two made it safely. Looking forward to reading your updates.

Glad too that you ran into Tom there. he said it was nice to see you and talk a bit.

Keep an eye out for Rhino and other statues...