Monday, April 4, 2016
Holy Toledo! Monasteries Monasteries Monasteries!
First stop after Cuenca was the monastery at Ulces. Big and designed as a fortress (most seem to be in Spain) the monastery was home to the Knights of Santiago (St James). It seemed they had to defend themselves against the moors who built a lot of the buildings in the first place. Somehow managed a gothic theme as well.... My history was never great but this was the first of many confusing histories…(Tim- I love that Emily has forgotten the 40km of headwinds and 5degree temps)
That was a very long cold day and thankfully we were in the ‘holy region’. We rode into a small church on the outskirts of Almendros late in the day. One kind old church-goer said it was ‘no problem’ if we set up our tent behind the church… we think (she didn’t speak any English)… I felt quite safe but I think Tim was on edge all night! (Tim - churchy folk might have crept up on us and splashed cold water over us and baptised me!)
Next day was the Roman ruins at Segobriga - we both decided here that we should wait until Rome (or at least Italy) before we get excited about Roman ruins... Makes sense that it's not spectacular... They are already ruined!!
Following this we had our 3rd consecutive day of 70-80km riding which got us to Consuegra. The castle was fun to wander through (although the staff had put on a crazy reenactment of castle life - Knights etc... Which was extra crazy as was all in Spanish!). Here we found the display of old flour grinding windmills a nice reward after pedalling up the hill... Later we even managed a hilltop campsite with a great panoramic view of Los Yebenes + other small towns complete with windmills and millions of olive trees.
As we cycled the final leg into Toledo, the town itself is quite picturesque but the weather was just getting worse. We spent yesterday afternoon and today exploring the old churches, cathedrals, synagogues and museums in the rain... All complete with their combination of Catholic/Moorish/Visigothic architecture - still not sure what the differences are but they are all old buildings!
Hopefully we will find some sun to ride out in tomorrow...if not then there is always another "Menu del dia" which we enjoy navigating the menus in Spanish and the gastronomic experiences.