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A visit to Toledo (the other Toledo)

A getaway weekend to the ancient capital of Spain

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

First, en route to Toledo, Madrid

Swiss International had an off-season deal to Madrid, so here we are, 17 November 2012. We've dreamt of visiting the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid -- we saw its forerunner in Lugano in 1992 the day before the count or baron or whatever he was packed it up and crated it off to Spain. The daily special is Gauguin at the moment (for other eyes than mine), but the baron's collection of Flemish Old Masters is about as good as it gets anywhere.

Meanwhile (and just after the Thyssen), it's the free Sunday evening at the Prado.

The freeby line goes right round the block, so we'll ramble in the neighborhood for half an hour or so.

Now we're sauntering back out of the Botanical Gardens to see how the Prado line is doing.

The next day, a look-in at the Reina Sophia (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía), also in the neighborhood; one of Kristin's favorites, the Guernica, is here, but the rest of it (aside from the 18th century hospital it's housed in) is modern and contemporary, and we can dash through that lot in a quarter of an hour.

When we emerged, the square was filled with elementary school teachers protesting cuts to state education, and the next street, across from the Atocha rail station, was filled with ten thousand enthusiastic but peaceful marching hospital workers and patients, demonstrating against the rightist government's sell-off of six public hospitals (so far) to private corporations, on the orders of the German Banksters and their "austerity programme".

We're staying in the Chic&Basic Atocha again: basic, sort of chic, cheap, next door to all the museums and the central train station, and now we're luxuriating with our books on the rooftop terrace awaiting our train to Toledo.

Now it's time to go.

The Atocha central rail station, verdant

With a disturbing special display of turtles

Disgusting turtles, in fact

Turtles all over the place!

Kristin loves nothing so much as turtles. Except marmots, and kitties.

They're calling for us.

The station is wonderful, and the train service is brilliant; presumably, Wall Street and the German bankers will make them sell it off to their friends at Bain Capital.

Thirty minutes 'til the Toledo train -- half an hour's trip 70km down the way.

Kristin was planning on a "fresh to go" sandwich for the train, but, after a quick look, opted out.

And off we go, on the Spanish version of Amtrak.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 5 December 2012.

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