April 4

I woke up to my parents getting ready for Mass. I hopped in the shower and we were out the door at about quarter to ten. There are three beautiful churches right on the same block as our hotel so it was a quick walk. The church we went to was beautiful. I tried my best to translate what I picked up from the Mass to my Mom. The one thing I was surprised about was how quick the Mass was. It was only about forty minutes long. I tried to snap a few pictures, but I had a security guard yell at me that photos weren’t permitted.

We walked to Starbucks for a quick coffee then started to get ready for our 12:20 train to Toledo. The metro is really quick and easy to use; we got to the train station in about ten minutes. We went through light security and were on our way to Spain’s historic capital. Toledo is pretty far from Madrid but the high-speed train only takes thirty minutes. We caught a cab ride up a mountain to the Plaza Zocodover and the historic part of Toledo. The city is beautiful. The weather was perfect, probably in the mid to high sixties with about two or three clouds in the sky. I really enjoyed exploring the old cobble stone streets of the historic district.

The Cathedral didn’t open until 2:00 but we decided to wait in line to buy our tickets. It was smart that we did, by the time 2:00 rolled around, the line was almost double what it was when we got in line. The Cathedral was absolutely beautiful. The inside was so ornate and there were so many side rooms that were stunning. The sacristy in the Cathedral had thirteen masterpieces of Saints from a lot of famous painters like el Greco and Rafael. When an archbishop would die and he chose his spot to be buried in the Cathedral, they would hang his hat from the ceiling upside down over his burial spot until it rots away. You could see a lot of deteriorating red hats hanging from the ceiling, which were pretty cool.

We went and grabbed a quick bite to eat at a restaurant started by a famous Toledo chef named Adolfo. We had a glass of wine and had a sampler platter of four different dishes. We had Jamon Iberico, Cheese covered in olive oil, shitake mushrooms, and venison. My favorite was probably the venison; it was very tender and perfect. After lunch, we didn’t have much longer until our train left so we walked to the edge of the city and took some pictures. It was beautiful. Instead of taking a taxi back to the train station, we decided the walk down would be much easier than the walk up.

After we got off the train in Madrid, we decided to walk over to the Royal Botanical gardens that were right near the Prado. I really enjoyed walking through the rows of different plants from all over the world. There were some beautiful flowers; I think we were just a couple weeks early to see the garden in full bloom. We went over across the street to a place called el Bar Museo and had a drink to enjoy the last bit on sunlight. We caught a taxi and had the driver go by the Royal Palace so my parents could see it. It is stunning and to boot the King doesn’t even live there; He lives about ten miles outside of Madrid in a different palace.

We decided to have an easy night in and just pick up some bread and cheese to snack on in our room. Dad and I went to Cortes Ingles and Mom headed up to the room. Cortes Ingles was packed. It took us a while to navigate all of the aisles but we found what we needed. Dad and I had a funny conversation with a couple while we were waiting in line. The man was Spanish and the female was German but they both couldn’t speak each other’s languages so they had to meet in the middle and speak English. The woman was trying to tell her boyfriend about a tradition her mom would do each Easter. The woman was trying to think of the English word for nest and was trying to use gestures to help the man understand. My dad helped them both by saying, “Nest.” The woman was relieved and she responded saying, “Oh! That’s how we say it in German too!” After we checked out, we returned to the hotel.

We tried to buy some Internet to talk with Peter and Mimi but the guy at the hotel lobby tried to pull a fast one on us and told me that we needed to purchase twenty-four hours worth of Internet in order to access it on our room. Dad didn’t care so we went ahead and bought it. I really enjoyed having Internet again; I posted my blog, got to talk to Peter and Mimi and got to talk with Laura for the first time outside of e-mail since Friday. It was nice. We all had an early night; I ended up staying awake until 12:00 because I was editing all of my pictures from Toledo. I have been having such a great time with my parents.

**I have some great pictures and will be sure to post them, the internet here is pretty slow and isn't allowing me to upload any.

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