Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 1.07.02 PM Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 1.07.30 PM

Monday May 25 started out for us in Madrid with an amazing revelation about my lifetime as Franz Liszt. The day ended in Ciudad Real, the heart of Don Quixote’s La Mancha country.  In between, we  visited Aranjuez, Toledo and Don Quixote’s Consuegra windmills.

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 7.49.25 PM Spain 2014 map

We had originally planned to overnight in Toledo. But this city left us cold like the blades of its famous swords.  So we moved on.  Improvisation and Planning – key to great trip experiences.


Aranjuez and Toledo: Lunchtime Music in Don Quixote’s La Mancha – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – filmed on location in Toledo, Spain on May 25, 2014

* * *

Toledo Left Us As Cold As Its Famous Sword Blades

Toledo was said to be one of Spain’s most beautiful cities, according to the same travel guide. “Spain This Way” urged travelers to be sure to also overnight there.

IMG_3697 IMG_3699 IMG_3705 IMG_3711 IMG_3710 IMG_3708  IMG_3713Toledo Alcazar closeup IMG_3707 IMG_3712

But when we got to Toledo on May 25, after a great deal of effort in just finding our way there from Aranjuez, Toledo left us cold. Like a cold blade of the swords this city is famous for.  At least that’s the effect the city left on me. I did not know why, but I just didn’t feel good there (see How to Make Every Trip a Great Experience).

Phillip II and El Greco/Toledo

Interestingly, during our visit to El Escorial two days earlier, we  learned that El Greco, one of the now celebrated painters of the 16th century Spain made his home in Toledo. In fact, he died there and there is now an El Greco Museum in Toledo.  It is one of the recommended tourist attractions.Elgreco50

Back when I was Phillip II, El Greco came to El Escorial trying to pitch his paintings and become one of the official court artists. But Phillip II felt the same way about El Greco as I did about Toledo. He was disappointed.

And I felt the same way about El Greco paintings we saw at El Escorial and Del Prado now as I did 500 years ago. They left me cold, like Toledo. (Interesting how consistent our tastes remain from lifetime to lifetime, isn’t it?  For more Phillip II and El Greco, as the NOTE at the end of this story).

So we visited the Toledo Alcazar (fortress), Cathedral and the Jewish Center, and gave the El Greco Museum a miss.

IMG_3717 IMG_3714 IMG_3718 IMG_3719 Toledo Cathedral interior  IMG_3720 Jewish Center Toledo IMG_3725 IMG_3724  Jeiwsh Center Tolodeo 2  IMG_3730 IMG_3731  IMG_3732IMG_3733 IMG_3734

We left Toledo early and drove on deeper into Don Quixote country and his windmills (Consuegra). We loved our time with the windmills. We ended up overnighting in Ciudad Real.  And we had a delightful dinner in that otherwise quite ordinary city.



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