Saturday, 8 September 2012

Getting Inside the Medieval City of Toledo

(Click here for Part 1: Madrid to Toledo by Bus)

After arriving at the Toledo bus station ...

Toledo bus station is a red block.

I made my way out of the station and up the road that leads to the medieval city of Toledo.

The road to Toledo is an uphill climb, so be prepared for some huffing and puffing. There's a bus from the bus station into Plaza Zocodover which is the main square in Toledo. But I didn't take it because I didn't know when to get down, hahaha. Well, walking's always good exercise ;-)

As I was walking, I kept a look out for signboards to see whether I was on the right track. Unfortunately most of the signboards show hotels and not Plaza Zocodover.

 I hope the tourism authorities in Toledo will put up more signboards showing where Toledo is, and not where the hotels are.

I was relieved to see the Bisagra Gate because it's one of the gates into the city:

The Bisagra Gate was built in the 16th Century as an arch of triumph. However the city walls were built earlier in the 10th Century.

On top of the Bisagra Gate is the coat of arms of Emperor Charles V:

The double eagle reminded people that Emperor Charles V ruled a unified Habsburg/Bourbon empire. The coat of arms reminds people entering the city that they were entering the capital of an empire that was so great, it included most of Western Europe and America. Got that bit of info from Rick Steve's Spain 2010.

After passing the Bisagra Gate, I soon found a signboard that pointed to Plaza Zocodover:

Thank heavens Plaza Zocodover is up ahead. Not too far now.

Along the way I looked down from the city walls and saw the bus station where I came from: 

The Toledo bus station is the square red building. Gosh, did I walk that far?

Soon I reached Plaza Zocodover which is the focal point I used to navigate my way around Toledo:

Again, there were no signboards to tell me that this is Plaza Zocodover. Btw, Zocodover means horse market in Arabic. 

The only signboard is this:

 It's the small, white rectangular one. I don't blame you if you didn't spot it. Looking for signboards in Spain is like going for a treasure hunt. But after that I read that since the city is so well preserved, the Spanish government has forbidden any modern exteriors. Oh well ...

 So how would you know you've reached Plaza Zocodover? These trains will tell you:

These trains that depart from Plaza Zocodover bring tourists around Toledo. Don't know how much and how long's the ride cause I explored the city on foot.

Now that I've finally arrived into the heart of Toledo, it was time to explore the culture, heritage and labyrinth streets of this medieval city.

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