Back on the tracks again

September 15, 2017 - Toledo, Spain

We started early to be packed and ready for a 9am collection in the square. All tidied up and locked up and ready before Rob came for us. When we were out on the autovia heading for Malaga Paul came past and we travelled in convoy to the Airport car park where we said our goodbyes to all. Most headed into the airport except Sue and Karen who were taking a bus to Granada and Margaret and I who hoped to be on a train to Toledo.

We walked along with Sue and Karen to the bus stop and pointed them towards the information office nearby before continuing on to the Metro station.

There was a long queue at the ticket machines but we eventually got there. Changing the language on the screen of the machine does not give you any idea of how it operates but we did manage to choose two single tickets and head for the trains. One pulled out as we went down the escalator (to the wrong platform but that would have not made any difference).

We took the Metro to Malaga - Maria Zambrano station where we found the Orient Express café to buy coffee (first requirement), a croissant for Max and two baguettes with jamon iberico and machengo cheese. The baguettes were to take away (par levar) but I wanted the rest NOW. I was presented with a tray to which I added the croissant, the baguettes were put on a plate and whisked away and the coffee machine primed for our two cups. The baguettes were returned about the same time as the coffee was ready but were now on a plate and cut in half. They were thrust toward me along with two paper bags. I managed to push the baguettes into the bags without them falling apart (too much) and then stack the plates and baguettes to make room on the tray for the coffee cups and saucers. Meanwhile I stumbled a bit when I discovered it was €18.50 but paid up while juggling the coffee and croissants.

As soon as the platform was announced we had our ticket checked then put our bags through scanning. At this check we were all given the once over with a portable metal scanner as well. Coins in hand and a quick once over before we headed for Coach 7, Seats 3C&D. It left Malaga at 12.05pm to arrive in Madrid at 2.40pm. We chose to sit for coffee at a cafeteria where we could watch the board. When Platform 15 was announced at 3.30pm for our 3.50pm departure we went to find the platform on the ground floor.

We could not see anywhere for that platform so went back upstairs again and found a departures line where a discussion with a Frenchman suggested we were in the right line. As we got close to the ticket check we reached across the lines of the snake and asked the woman checking the tickets. 'Not this floor, Planta Baja', she said, pointing downstairs. We had looked down there, surely. Back down again and discovered that there is one sign that directs you back behind the escalators to the Departures lines. We went through screening comforted to think there were still other people going through and emerged into a large waiting area for Platforms 8 through to 20 that we recognised from a few years ago. We could have waited down here. Instead we had to hurry to Via 15 at the far end, join the queue, and have our ticket scanned but at least Car 2 was at the near end. Into seats 8A&B with at least 5 minutes to spare.

We arrived in Toledo around 4.30pm and went out to wait for a taxi which took us to the Pintor El Greco Hotel to check in and relax. Enquiries at the desk told us that Meson La Orza, where we had a wonderful meal last time in Toledo would open at 8.30pm so we had a little while to assess and review our week of photography lessons.

When we walked over to Meson La Orza, just up the hill from our Hotel, we couldn't get a seat inside without a reservation and the evening had turned a little cool. We had always pictured ourselves sitting out on the deck but hadn't come prepared for it. After ordering, Max went back for a warmer cardigan for Margaret and an extra shirt himself.

Beer to start, then Bread and an appetiser of tomato and onion and garlic with little toasts. No good for Max who had already explained about his garlic allergy. When we checked they brought out some manengo cheese and ham croquettes. They were good.

Roast suckling pig with a potato puree, pickled onion and black garlic for Margaret and beef tender loin with three mustards and carbonised potato for Max.

That was sufficient for us so we finished with coffee and finally a gift of belotta or acorn liqueur.

We took a short stroll around the block before heading back to the hotel. How do the Spanish eat so late and yet manage to sleep?


Seeing us off
A last chance at those pesky umbrellas
Home for the next couple of nights
Margaret's Roast Suckling Pig
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