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I was admittedly resistant to the idea of ever leaving Valencia.

Sunshine! Warmth! Glorious, glorious warmth!

I was sure that upon returning to the inner parts of Spain, it would immediately be cold and cloudy again.  But I was finally convinced that I might actually enjoy Toledo.

So, I bid Valencia a very fond farewell…

and told it that it was definitely my favorite (well, that and Segovia…) and we hopped a train and made our way to Toledo.

Possibly…. just possibly…. Toledo is also my favorite (I can have three favorites! It’s my blog, after all.)

Toledo reminded me both of Edinburgh and of Mont Saint Michel in France.  It is one of those cities that retains a strong sense of its oldness.

We got lost in narrow alleyways.  We tripped on cobblestones.  We climbed up, up, up and then back down and around as we explored the streets.

Toledo has an excellent cathedral.  Once again, there was a no photos sign, but once again, it was being cheerfully ignored by tourists one and all.  I took that to mean that the No Cameras! sign was just a suggestion.

One of the security people wandering about actually yelled (in a very quiet ‘this is a cathedral’ sort of way) at one person: ‘No flash! No flash!’  So I guess they realize the futility of keeping people from photographing the cathedral and are just trying to keep the flashes down to a minimum.

I will never tire of photographing cathedrals:

The soaring arches and dark corners,

the sudden brilliance of a painted ceiling,

the mystic glow of each unique stained window,

the attention to the smallest detail in order to capture something beautiful and holy.

Cathedrals represent centuries of labor followed by centuries of history and worship and conflict.  They are the first thing that you see as you enter the city, their spires rising up above everything else and beckoning the wanderer to its grand, arched doors.

We opted to pay a little extra to climb the tall tower.  Views on the way up were splendid.

At the top, we could appreciate the giant bells (though I did rather hope they wouldn’t ring while we were up there.  Ouch!)

Yes, it’s a touristy sort of city.  Hello, Don Quixote!

But if you embrace the touristiness along with the oldness, these cities can be a lot of fun to explore.

After a few hours in the military museum (housed in the old fortress), we made our way down to the bridge for some glorious views of the city at sunset.

Really, it doesn’t get much better than this.  I was resigning myself rather well to having had to leave Valencia behind.  There was sunshine here too.

And it wasn’t all that cold really.  From the bridge, you could enjoy a perfect vista of river and city as the sun cast its final glow.

The stark contrast between the human eye and the human experience and that of the little piece of technology that I love so much – the camera – is never so clear as when I am trying to capture a moment such as this.  The eye, the mind, the emotions can soak it in, every detail, but a camera is woefully limited.

But a camera is still a worthy supplement to memory.  I wanted to bring this sky back with me so that in the rainy days of a Scottish spring, I can still see my Toledo sunset.

In the morning, I had an epic journey home ahead of me.  I walked to the train station early that morning; hopped a train to Madrid; took the metro to the airport; sat amidst a crowd of disgruntled fellow travelers as our flight was delayed for two extra hours; contracted a migraine and spent the flight thinking dreamily of my snug little flat in Edinburgh; got my final passport stamp for the journey and took the bus to the city centre (at this point not entirely conscious); gave myself a blurry pep talk to get up that long, steep hill to my building;

and dispensed with luggage and collapsed in a heap  Sunday is a day of rest and then I can jump back into my studies with Canterbury, Paris, and Spain as fond memories represented in a wall of postcards.

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