Toledo is just a short train ride from Madrid. The minute the train pulled into the station, all I could think was how I wished I had my bike, to ride up to the town.
Toledo’s main square, Zocodover, which used to host bullfights, and public burnings at the stake carried out by the Inquisition, is sadly now home to a McDonalds. Still, it’s a pretty plaza.
I first walked to the Cathedral. Because that is generally the thing to see in any of these small European towns.
I then walked to the Jewish Quarter. The Synagogue of El Transito is now a museum. I got confused when I got here, as it was not as impressive as I’d expected.
I realized later, that what I was looking for – but never found – was the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca. Oh well, it looks nice in the pictures I found the next day! Duh
After that, it was time for lunch, and one of the local specialties is Carcamusas. Which is slow cooked pork, peas, tomatoes and white wine, served with bread. I found a packed tapas bar called Bar Ludena. I wish I’d gotten a photo of the crowd at the bar, it was exactly what I’d always pictured a small, busy, popular tapas bar to be.
I muscled my way to the bar, and ordered some, with a tinto vino. A very yummy lunch! It was close to 330pm when I got there, so while it was packed when I arrived, it cleared out quickly. As most places, Bar Ludena closes from 4pm- 8pm.
Took a late train back to Madrid, and took the Metro to a restaurant a friend recommended, El Molette. If you are ever in Madrid, I highly recommend this place. Be warned, it is tiny!! I had the artichoke tapa, also based on a recommendation from the same friend. It was served with a foie gras sauce. It was this sweet, salty combination and is one of the best things I have eaten on this trip so far.
The owner greeted me with a warm handshake, and offered me the only spot at the counter. It was a Wednesday night, late by American standards (930pm) and the place was packed. It has a small loft like area upstairs, where I smacked my head good on the brick archway at the top of the stairs where the seating area and bathroom is.
After I finished, and was paying to leave, the chef and I assume the co-owner, came out to kiss me goodbye. I had to get a picture, they were so friendly, even though we did not understand each others’ languages at all. I left almost giddy, the food was so good – even with the raging headache from the huge lump growing on top of my head!