This weekend the Arcadia in Granada group went to Toledo and Madrid. Where are Toledo and Madrid? Toledo is a small town located in the autonomous region of Castile-La Mancha, about 3.5 hours north of Granada. So for this trip we finally went north.
Toledo is small. It also has two main areas. There’s the new city just right outside the “old city” where, according to our personal tour guide are where those who are married and families tend to live. While the old city holds all the singles and a lot of sentimental abuelos and abuelas. Some brief history, Toledo is a VERY old town. It was the Visigoth Empire's capital in the 600s AFTER the Roman Empire conquered it. So it a very old and historic town. You can still tell that it’s old by the architecture and the way the streets were laid out in a defensive way. While in Toledo you can visit the alcazars and view the famous painting from El Greco. Fun Fact: many of the swords you see in Lord of the Rings were made right there in Toledo! Which has a thriving steel economy that ships out all different types of swords.
Now onto Madrid, which is 1.5~2 hours from Toledo. Oh boy, was I absolutely blown away by Madrid. I fell in love as soon as we got off the bus. We got off at Puerta de Sol and it was like stepping into Times Square, but better. Theres also a strip called Gran Via that’s basically all shopping. It has enormous stores. Now I’m not a fan of New York City (sorry!!) but I AM a fan of Madrid. Madrid is the capital of Spain and where majority of the politics and governmental stuff goes down. As an International Studies major, I was very interested. It is such a different culture from Granada. But warning: PICK POCKETING IS VERY COMMON. If you go to Madrid please be aware of your surroundings and your personal items.
While both cities were amazing and beautiful in their own ways it was very obvious the different atmospheres and way of living. Toledo was a small quiet town overflowing with history, while Madrid flows with power and a constant bustle of people.