Toledo and the hire car

September 16, 2017 - Toledo, Spain

A late start was the first part of our plans for the day. We slept in a bit and went down to breakfast about 9.30am before getting ourselves organised to go and collect our rental car about 11.15am. We took a taxi from the rank near the hotel to back to the station area and the hire car offices. As it turned out I needed a second form of ID such as my passport so Huenco, their driver and car detailer, drove us back to the hotel to collect it. He had very little English, to match my very little Spanish so there was very limited conversation on the trip. He did understand the little tip for his efforts and the 'Ssshhh' sign at the door before we went back in.

Huenco then collected his bags and disappeared probably to knock off for the day so I was glad to have given him a little bit of cash for his efforts. The woman at the hire car desk then took us through the rudiments of the car operation and the paperwork and we programmed the GPS to take us back to the Pintor El Greco Hotel.

After we were left in the car by ourselves I reversed a little to the end of the available parking space to save the possibility of being boxed in before I got used to the car. Then we sat and went through some of the controls, set the mirrors and seats and finally took a deep breath and launched us into the traffic. Well there really wasn't that much traffic here so that was easy. We managed to negotiate all the instructions from the GPS except for one roundabout exit. From there she had us into the Old Town. Horror of horrors. The streets are very narrow; scarcely more than the width of a car. We managed to make a 15 point turn in a small three way intersection and probably came out of a one-way street but people backed up and allowed us out rather than tooting horns. We exited the Old Town again and found the correct exit to the roundabout and found our way to the hotel. Just a minor heart flutter when we had to squeeze in against a wall to let a full sized bus through in the opposite direction.

Now that we had a description and number plate for the car the hotel would allocate a parking place for us. Go down to Level 2 and it is No 23. So back to the car and head to the garage entrance. The doors were already opened but there was a dithering American in a Van in the way. She waved us through so swing left squeeze right past the front of the van and edge through a rather small gap at an angle. Then we went down a ramp curving to the right and out into the garage. Hmm. Is this Level 2? We found Place 23 and parked but as we walked out we realised that the curving ramp went between a couple of columns and downwards again. I went back for the car and discovered the fun of passing at an angle between columns that are about 9 foot apart when any manoeuvring is restricted by walls and parked cars. At least the allocated Parking Place is wide enough to allow turns into and out. I reversed in and we happily abandoned the car for the rest of the day.

Toledo Cathedral has several paintings by El Greco (of course) as well as Caravaggio and Titian so we walked up to see what the crowds were like. Horrific, was the answer! It was all we could do to make our way up the streets. Every tour bus must have been there at that time of the day so we abandoned that idea and continued up to the square to find an ATM and withdraw some cash. As we walked back toward the hotel Margaret decided she would like to look in Punta Roma, a store she remembers from a couple of years ago. I left her there promising to return in quarter of an hour.

We then walked back up to the square to see if we could find the way to Alfileritos 24 where we planned to go for dinner. That part was easy. The continuation down through the Jewish Quarter to get to the hotel was more difficult and we blundered around a few tiny alley ways until we came out in Plaza Virgen de Gracia above Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes. A few more narrow alleys and we were back in familiar territory and reached the hotel for a siesta.

After our little break and some work on the journal we left about 7.30pm to walk to Alfileritos 24 and this time we managed to find our way through the edge of the Jewish Quarter. We elected to eat in the Taberna area for drinks and Tapas plates.

We shared an Ensalada Pollo (chicken salad), Berenjas con Mie (Battered Aubergine with Honey Sauce), and Tosta de Presa (toast with pork, mushroom, onion and cheese) then we finished with a Coulant de Chocolat (Chocolate Cake with berries and Chocolate Yoghurt). A coffee each and we were ready to call it a day after rolling back to the hotel again.


Pictures

A view from Plaza Virgen de Gracia
 
 
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