Tag: Toledo

Almonacid de Toledo Castle

After our visit to Toledo we stopped a few km south of the city to visit this ruined Castle.  It was amazing!  It was situated on top of a hill and we hiked to the top.  We were free to wander about — with very few other people there with us.  Who would have thought I’d be sitting enjoying the sunshine in the ruins of an old castle.   I was called back to reality by the urgent bathroom needs of a wonderful 4 year old!

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Here is some great information I found from Travelinos.com .”Amazing and extensive ruins of the castle Toledo is one of those views with which nobody can understand how they have stayed, this castle give the merits of past times. The ruins of the castle rise majestically on a small hill that dominates the little village of the same name. It is located about 20 km southeast of the city of Toledo in the Spanish province of the same name.

It is believed that Almonacid de Toledo Castle was probably built by the Moors. For the first time for this massive fortress in its prototype, when it was so big and powerful, it has been mentioned in 848 and 854 years. At that time, the castle becomes an arena of fierce battles between troops of the Emir of Cordoba and the rebels of Toledo.

According to one legend, the name of the castle comes from a Spanish word that means “The battlements of El Cid”. El Sid is a very famous Spanish horse, which plays a major role during the battles. More likely, however, the name of the castle came to Toledo from the Latin word “almonaster”, which means monastery. Moors are a stranger to this and called the castle “ribat”, which is their word for monastery. At that time the fortress was inhabited by monks, and Moorish knights.

Toledo fortress fell into the hands of King Alfonso IV, as part of the dowry of his wife – Princess Zaida. In 1086 the king donated the castle to the Archbishop of Toledo. In the 14th century, Archbishop Don Pedro Tenorio made substantial reconstruction and strengthening of the fortress.

Later, when the Portuguese pretender Count Alfonso of Gijon was to the throne, the castle was closed by order of King Juan I, who was king of Castile. On August 11th 1809, the castle served as a refuge for the Spanish troops under the command of General Venegas in a battle against French forces. This confrontation ends with victory giving around 2000 victims, and about twice as many Spanish soldiers killed near Toledo.

Inside the Almonacid de Toledo Castle you can see the remains of defensive walls of 2 square meters and three round towers. Besides viewing the remains, the buildings beyond its walls of the fortress have ruins of the square three story fort and a few tanks.”

 

Toledo, Spain

First, it’s not pronounced like Toledo, Ohio but TOE-led-O.  Actually, the girls thought it was pronounced TORNADO.  I had to keep explaining that it was not a town hit by tornado’s but that’s just how it was sounding to them.  The city is super old with lots of history and as such was a pretty neat place to explore. We did lots of walking and sightseeing and lots of eating.  We stayed in a hostel; which I had never stayed in one before.  It was essentially a bedroom with two bunk beds and a bathroom.  There was a rooftop terrace.  There was a small kitchenette and sitting area for all the guests on the rooftop as well.

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Hostal Oasis – Toledo

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The streets of the city were narrow and used by both pedestrians and cars a like.  Although in some spots I have no idea how a car even made it through.  Even the street right outside our hostel cars would drive on.  I did not attempt to drive in the city center.  I parked at the bus station in town and we walked (read aimlessly walked for way too long) to our hostel.

The girls and I took a trolley/train tour ride around the city.  It was more fun than I had anticipated.  We got a set of headphones and could listen to the recording on the history of the city — in English.

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The train took us all around the city and gave us some great views overlooking the town.

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Here is the Plaza Zocodover which is the main Plaza in Toledo and near to our hostel.  It was alright – as the Burger King and McDonald’s detracted from the ambiance of the city a bit.  But it was a good starting point and a consistent point on the map we could always find.

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Kids are welcome just about everywhere we’ve been here in Spain.  Then again, I haven’t tried taking them to a night club…although I’m not sure I’m taking myself to one either.  But at whatever time we go and where ever we go, we can be guaranteed that our kids will not be the only ones there.  Toledo was no exception.  After walking all over the city on Saturday we had one kiddo tired and falling asleep, one kiddo overly tired and bouncing off the walls and one kiddo who just thought it was neat to be out and about.

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On Saturday evening we went to see a Theater in the street performance.  While we mostly had no idea what was going on, it was cool to see.  The Plaza Ayuntamiento was PACKED!  The performance had several large explosions of feathers and colored dye.  The performance actually started at three different plaza’s and converged at the Ayuntamiento (i.e. City Hall) for the main performance.  After the streets began to clear the girls had a grand time playing in the mess that was left behind.  The girls were a mess!  I washed their hair later and the soap lather turned yellow!

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And finally here are some pictures from around the city.  For more pictures you can check out our photo website.

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Stress free communication

It was a great weekend away. The city of Toledo was cool and I have lots of great pictures…to be posted when I can get an internet connection . It is a major tourist town and as such had many folks that spoke English. Feeling free from the stress of communication difficulties may have been the most refreshing part of the weekend!

Top 25

We decided to head to Toledo this weekend.  It’s been recommended from folks we personally know as well as it’s in Lonely Planet’s Top 25 for Spain (which will not be the last post on us hitting a top 25).  I had planned an elobrate trip via bus, metro subway and high-speed train to get us here.  The transportation was nearly the cost of the hostel for 2 nights.  An impromptu “beer thirty” lead to us renting a car.  It seemed a no-brainer to decline the extra car rental coverage offering to lower the deductible.  When I got in to drive to the nearest store to buy kid booster seats seemed like a bad idea.  I forgot all the cars are manual transmissions, ok not a huge deal — once I figured out where reverse actually was and that there were 6 gears.  I forgot how tightly packed these Spainards seem to be able to park, that was a bigger deal.  I was exuberant when the folks in front of me drove away!  But a few round-abouts and a few practice reverses and I was set to go.  We found ourselves a “super-Walmart” type store and it was AMAZING!!!  We went to get car seats for kids but it I mean it was amazing!, things we have been missing were all before our eyes!  Black beans! White t-shirts! Panty liners! Taco seasonings!  It may well have been good enough to call it a successful long-weekend without even visiting a Lonely Planet Top 25 sight!

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