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March Break Abroad: And Just Like That...

March Break Abroad: And Just Like That...

Day Highlights

Granada welcomed us with open arms, and just as quickly we had to say goodbye. So we raised our hands in the air and waved adios to the city. It was only a short time, but the Alhambra and Albaicin have become one of the many memories that we’ve made on the trip.

However, we must move forward into our next adventure. Madrid has always been the home base we’ve been reaching towards, but before we get there, there’s just one more thing we needed to do: Toledo!

As we drove through the countryside between Granada and Toledo, our group was taken by the endless orchards, and rolling hills that covered the landscape. With the wide variety of vegetation that covered each of the plots, we were always able to find something to capture our attention during the drive. And thanks to our transport captain, Luis, it has been a smooth drive through each of these cities.

Day 7

As we drive up through the winding roads leading to Toledo, we know we are in for something special. Placed on top of a hill, the historic area of Toledo (originally named Toletum, or “stone hill”) was like rocks emerging from the ground. Giant stone structures surrounded us, but we felt like the city was from the earth.

As we walked through parts of the city before meeting our tour guide, Manuel, we could feel the earthly elements come to life. The stone structures were extensions of the earth, and the metalwork (from swords, blades, shields, and other weaponry) demonstrated how essential these elements were to the inhabitants of Toledo.

We meet our guide in front of the Puerto del Sol and he introduces us to the rich history of Toledo, a city that is considered to be the 2nd largest UNESCO site outside of Rome. It was also an important geographical location because Toledo is very nearly the exact geographical centre of Spain, with access to many parts of the country.

Manuel introduced us to the history of its inhabitants, including Romans during antiquity, the Visigoths, the Arabs during the 8th century, and then later conquered by Alfonso VI during the 11th century.

So many diverse influences on the city have left their mark. As we passed the old Mosques, we can see Catholic and Muslim markings together, as well as ties to Roman mythology. The amalgamation of these diverse histories allowed us to see just how rich the city is underneath the beauty of the landscape.

As we walked through the streets, Manuel also pointed out interesting homes and pieces of architecture that lined the streets, including the world record for the smallest window (yet, it is small!). We also had the chance to view a panoramic of the city villas, and eventually had the opportunity to head underground to a well that was once used by the Romans. Hidden under the surface of the streets, you’d never realise such a historical piece remains. But thankfully our guide had the key to the city and we were able to get a sneak peak.

We bid farewell to Toledo. It was a brief, but gorgeous visit through the cobblestone streets. Some of us even walked away with some mazapán, which very famous in the city of Toledo.

We boarded the bus and left for our next (and sadly, last) European adventure: Madrid! We are all excited to finally reach this destination, and have all been eagerly discussing the sights and tastes that can be found throughout the city.

We arrive just before dinner to unpack our bags and get ready. Our hotel is located very close to the Prado Museum, so students have access to many great areas of the city. As an introduction to the city, students gathered in groups in search of their own city adventures. Tomorrow, we will get to visit the major sights of the city, including the Plaza Major, Plaza Del Sol, and the Palacio. Our trip may be coming to an end, but there’s still so much to see and do!

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