Monday, May 11, 2020

Virtual Tour of Spain: Day Four: Chocolate & Churros, Toledo, Cordoba (May 11, 2020)

Welcome to our "Virtual Tour of Spain" May 8 to 22, 2020!
Day Four: Monday, May 11, 2020
1) Chocolate and Churros!
2) Train to Toledo and back to Madrid
3) Train to Cordoba!

Good evening everyone!  On our fourth day of our Virtual Tour of Spain, I'm posting this late night from Cordoba after a long day of travel today that included a town walk in beautiful Toledo this morning and through the mid-afternoon.  This morning was chilly in Madrid ... about 60 degrees and warming up to 68 as the day progressed.  It had rained overnight so the streets glistened as we looked out this morning and began our walk.

After our last full day in Madrid yesterday (Sunday) and with memories in our head of the great talk given by Prado's Head of the Department of Prints and Drawings, Jose Manuel Matilla, we could NOT miss one of the special treats of Madrid, Chocolate and Churros at Chocolateria San Gines, very near Plaza Major (at Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5). So, knowing that we had some brisk walking ahead (about 2 miles total) to get to Madrid's Atocha rail station for our 9:20am train to Toledo this morning, bags were packed and ready by 6am, and we checked out of our hotel at 6:15am, walked to get our Chocolate and Churros, to make it to Atocha by 7:30am.

Here's our orientation map for today.  The plan is to go to Chocolateria San Gines by 6:30am, to have a leisurely Hot Chocolate and Churros, then leave by 7am for the 30 minute walk to Atocha.  We'll store our roller bags at the baggage lockers in Atocha (for a fee), take the train to Toledo, return to Madrid on the 4:18pm train, retrieve our bags, and then make the 6pm AVE train for Cordoba, arriving at 7:43pm.  We also planned (and succeeded!) to get ALL our Spain rail tickets, and the Tarjeta Dorada for our 25%-40% discount, in Atocha before boarding our train to Toleda.  Ambitious day!!  Here's our map:

Today's Walking Map for Orientation
Our walk today takes us from our hotel in center city south to Chocolateria San Gines, and then to Atocha rail station.  Total walking distance is about two miles:

Off to Chocolateria San Gines!
It's only about 12 minutes walk from our hotel to the mecca for Chocolate and Churros -- the Chocolateria San Gines.  We're there by 6:30am.  This is no ordinary chocolate place ... it's been here since 1894 and is open 24-hours.  This is also no ordinary hot chocolate either ... it's like a hot, thick chocolate pudding.  The "churros" are long rods that look like fried donuts ... infinite length, hot, crusty, and ready for dipping into our thick chocolate.  Take a look at the two YouTube videos below and you'll get NEARLY everything about this experience except for the hypnotic smell and taste!  Oh, my!

First YouTube video is just shy of three minutes, and is really well done.

Now, it's all about what happens in the cup in front of you ... here's an awesome 23 seconds YouTube video of the magic in the cup!

OK!!  We've soaked in the ambiance of San Gines, and now it's 7:00am, time to get to Atocha rail station to get our full complement of tickets for the next ten days' travel in Spain, as well as our "tarjeta dorada" -- the "Gold Card" for senior discount rail tickets. Our walk takes 30 minutes and, with passport in hand, we purchase our tarjeta dorada and all eight tickets we'll need for today and the next ten days.

Our AVANT train departs Atoche at 9:20am, and arrives into Toledo rail station at 9:53am. Here we are about to board ...

and on board for the 30-minute trip ...

When we arrived into Toledo we took the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus just outside the train station.  There's a ticket seller just inside the station.  The bus whisks us off to an incredible vantage point across from the town of Toledo for a classic photo, then goes into the center of town to drop us off for our walking tour through Toledo.  Remember Ruben who took us through El Rastro on Sunday?  Well we're lucky to have Ruben as host on his YouTube video visit to Toledo for our virtual tour today:

A bit of rain starts to fall in the afternoon, but we can't get enough of this charming town with crazy hills and ancient cobblestone streets.  Here's an orientation map ... zoom in (with the PLUS tool on the lower right) to see all the streets in the town, hold two fingers on the image and move to left or right to navigate:

Virtual Walk Through Toledo
Now, here's a real treat: Navigate virtually through the town as we have over the past three days: tap or click in the center of the Google Street View Map, below, to move ahead, and use your finger (or mouse) to drag left or right or up or down to navigate through the Street View:

It's getting time to return to Madrid: We'll depart Toledo by train aboard the 4:18pm AVANT-08163, arriving into Madrid Atocha station at 4:51pm. We make a bee-line for the lockers, gather our bags, then board our train from Madrid to Cordoba, departing Madrid at 6pm aboard AVE–02180, arriving Cordoba at 7:43pm tonight

In Cordoba!
We'll leave you with another Google Street View to navigate a bit in Cordoba ... very close to the Mezquita, not too far of a walk southeast from the rail station.  Explore and see whether you can get to the Mezquita!  Don't worry if you get lost!  We'll be doing a lot more exploring tomorrow.  We'll also give you more detail about where we are staying tonight and tomorrow night.  But for now, it's been a long day ... time for a snack and to sleep!

Wander through Cordoba ... more tomorrow!

That's our DAY FOUR!  Enjoy your evening! Tomorrow is our early exploration of Cordoba and our entry to Mezquita before regular opening times ... we'll explain!


UP NEXT TOMORROW:  Exploring Cordoba

Links to prior days of our Virtual Tour of Spain:

No comments:

Post a Comment