Toledo in 4 Days
The old capital of Spain (that is until the mid 18th c).
The finest armoury and sword makers in Europe since the 14th c.
An unspoilt city cut-off from the surrounding plain by the Tegus tearing through its self-made gorge.
A return flight to Madrid for 80 pounds sterling (inc. tax).
Never considered this a place for a quick break but with a cheap flight and a road map of Europe to find out what was in striking distance from Madrid we principally lighted on Toledo or Segovia. Segovia next time then.
Decided to use trains and buses instead of a hire car. Luckily relented as later we discovered Toledo station (a Baroque masterpiece of architecture and painting) had no trains stop there... nor have they done so for a number of years. The buses out of the city are a bit sketchy on departure times and destinations as well.
So a late, grey cloud filled sky, October day was our welcome to Toledo.
"Why stay at a Parador?"
The Parador de Toledo is probably one of the best sited hotels in Europe... if not the world.
Perched high up on the edge of the Tegus gorge, opposite the city, the views from the bar, the terrace and the restaurant are truely breath-taking.
The parado is a converted Manor House and the car park is the very large cobbled square in front of the brown/red brick historical building. However directions to it left a lot to be desired... however it did enable us to have an unscheduled discovery tour of the area surrounding Toledo.
Booking-in at the Parador was lengthy and very friendly (English was at a premium). If there were more than two parties booking-in at the same time be prepared for a short wait (same for checking out). However the reception desk in the main hall of the manor house does grab your attention and any short wait passes swiftly.
The rooms either have a garden view (including outside swimming pool) and some a magnificent view across to the city (how to secure these rooms was a mystery). What strikes you about the room is its size (for Europe) its cleanliness and its attention to detail especially the antiques and furnishings. As it is an old Manor House the rooms are quite dark and the original stone tiled floors are cold if using the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Breakfast was a fantastic meal from a gargantuine buffet, predominantly Spanish but with enough to cater for vegetarians, vegans and main-line carnivores.
Similarly dinner was a gourmet's delight. One evening because the dining hall was full the maitre-d' put us in a splendid side room complete with tapestries and antique furniture with our own personal waiter. Be prepred that the Spanish do not eat early. Most restaurants (including the Parador) open at 8.00 pm or later and do not get into full swing until 10... even in the Fall and Winter.
Paradors are not cheap. The Parador de Toledo came in at about 130 Euros per room per night including breakfast. But truely an experience to be remembered.