field trip to toledo

My second week at school, a group of German students and their teachers arrive for a week-long exchange. Since the Germans hardly speak any Spanish, and the Spanish students at my school speak no German, I’m invited to attend a few of the exchange activities to help with the 1 language that both groups have in common – English.

One of the activities is a day-long field trip to Toledo, a little over an hour away. A chartered bus takes us to the city – which was once the capital of Spain, is the current capital of Castilla La-Mancha, and is a heavily visited tourist destination. One of the teacher chaperones from my school prepared a printout with brief explanations of each of the sites we’d be visiting that day. My charge was to read the descriptions out loud in English to the group of students, then 1 chaperone from each of the respective countries would read the same in German and Spanish. As it turned out, I was the only one who ended up reading aloud to the largely disinterested students. It kinda felt like I was secretly being hazed, but still, it was a small price to pay for being able to explore the city for free.

After an hour or so of playing tour guide, the kids were allowed 3 hours of free time (3 hours!? I couldn’t believe it!) to explore the city on their own. Meanwhile, the other profesand I lounged about – enjoying some amazing tapas and having a leisurely coffee break. Honestly, I would have preferred the 3-hour free time that the students had, as I didn’t get to see all that I wanted to in the city. But I enjoyed having the chance to bond with the other teachers. Also, I thought it was odd that the 2 chaperones from my school were teachers of science and math, as opposed to history or geography, but whatever.

Here are some snapshots of what was seen throughout the day:
View of historic Toledo

 

The Tagus River, which surrounds the city on 3 sides
A little poem outside La Ermita - the devotional chapel for the Virgin of Toledo

 

Inside La Ermita (Toledo)

 

The students get a chance to ring the bell at the top of La Ermita

 

Altar inside La Ermita (Toledo)

 

 

Toledo is one of many stops on the Ruta de Don Quijote, a series of sites featured in Cervantes' seminal work

 

Inside the Puerta de Bisagra Nueva - the main entrance to Toledo

 

Above Puerta Bisagra is the coat of arms of Chales V, which features two eagles,

 

Approaching the Puerta del Sol (Toledo)

 

group shot with the German and Spanish students inside the El Greco musuem

 

 

El Greco - the famous 16th century painter - was one of Toledo's most famous residents

 

Tapas with the teachers!

 

The famed 'migas' of Castilla La-Mancha. Breadcrumbs sauteed with chorizo and spices, here, with diced melon on top

 

Presa de iberico (sooo good!) with grilled asparagus and an Argentinian style sauce

 

Seen outside of a convent. Ladies drop a hairpin in the hole in front of the picture of the Virgin in hope of finding a mate

 

El Cristo de la Luz - small mosque built in 999 that was later transformed into a Christian oratory

 

Sure! There's time for a quick pose!

 

Original Roman street stones leading up to the mosque

 

El Cristo de la Luz - as seen from the rear gardens

 

 

Inside El Cristo de la Luz

 

 

 

 

A cool little performance space / lounge that was originally a small cathedral

 

 

Sure! There's time for a quick selfie!

 

Damasquino, or Damescene jewelry - an emblem of Toledo

 

 

 

The Toledo Cathedral

 

 

 

 

By this time, all the history was starting to get a bit old (get it?), but the show must go on...

 

 

A visit to the Sephardic Museum in Toledo - traditional Sephardic garb (women)

 

Sephardic Museum in Toledo - traditional Sephardic garb (men)

 

 

Sephardic Museum in Toledo - Sephardic jewelry (yes, please!)

 

 

 

Puente de San Martin (Toledo)

 

 

View of the River Tagus from the Puente de San Martin

 

Sure! There's time for a quick ussie before leaving Toledo! Me and Pepa (Math)