After coming back from chilly central Spain, I am thankful I live in Valencia instead of Madrid. We had a wonderful trip and in many ways Madrid and Castilla la Mancha is actually more beautiful despite being land-locked, but nothing beats the weather here in Valencia and getting to watch the sun rise over the Mediterranean every morning. After our six day trip, three of which had no internet, I'm glad to be back in the dorm with my ethernet cable and in the 70º weather instead of the chilly 50s we experienced. This afternoon and evening I enjoyed some slacklining with Jon and Seth who are working on acclimating me to the ways of WWU and the northwest. This evening we all took turns and a small group gathered on the line, enjoying the evening breeze and the smell of orange blossoms in the air. What can I say, it's a hard life here in Spain! 

Anyway, about our trip. I'll try to catch up on the three locations we saw, but for now I'll just start with Toledo. We began our trip early last Tuesday morning and drove four or five hours straight through the middle of Spain. I was surprised at how beautiful the landscape was, as I'm sure my friends from the coasts would be surprised that Kansas can actually be beautiful too. Instead of terraced orange groves were rolling hills with different crops and grasses. I was delighted to discover that we drove right past the famous Castilla la Mancha windmills and snapped a few photos. I've wanted to see them all year, but being on a random highway in the middle of Spain makes them hard to access by public transportation. 

We finally reached our hotel where we met up with Justin and Ryan and some others who had gone to Madrid a day early to meet up with a friend and former teacher. We set off to find a Mercadona and enjoyed our usual supermarket favorites: fresh baked french bread, cookies, yogurts, etc. We met the group back at the hotel and the bus took us into town where we had a short walking tour of the city and the cathedral. Most of the boys wanted to look at or purchase some variety of sword of knife, which Toledo is famous for. We walked around, looking in shops for awhile before heading back to the hotel. We left just as the sun began to set, lighting up the city and surround hills. Hannah and I had a room together for the night and never found the thermostat, spending a chilly night when we couldn't find extra blankets either. Cristian later told us (in Spanish of course) "Come on guys, it's a four star hotel! You can call them and tell them anything you need!" But we got a laugh out of it and it was only the beginning of our Temperature Adventures we had in the next few days.
The next morning we checked out of our hotel but spent the morning in Toledo at a museum of Jewish history in Spain, Santo Tomé, and the Monastario San Juan de los Reyes. The museum was interesting but small and we went through it pretty fast. Santo Tomé is home to one of the most famous paintings by El Greco, which I recognized immediately from my Art History class I took at Union. My favorite part was the Monastario San Juan because it had a beautiful courtyard that we could walk all around on two levels. After the usual free time for lunch, we boarded the buses and headed to Segovia. But you'll have to tune in next time for more Adventures in Temperature. 
4/9/2013 06:36:22 am

I love the Castillo la Mancha windmills. So glad you got to see them. I know you enjoyed the countryside as you drove toward Toledo. Sorry you couldn't find the thermostat in your hotel room. Love your pictures Shelby---they are super as usual and I'm looking forward to seeing Madrid and Segovia. I'm so happy I was there during Spring break making it easy for me to visualize the Mercadona, the beautiful courtyards, etc.

Keep enjoying that sunrise over the Mediterranean for the next several weeks. Love you real good Shel.

Sheri Seibold
4/9/2013 04:20:01 pm

Oh, Shel, you got to see the windmills, even if from afar. So glad you did and the rest of the trip must have been beautiful as well. Can't wait to see and hear more. I can picture myself with you and your friends and teachers now . . . and grandma . . . and Dr. and Mrs. Marais.

Love your blog title as always :) Love you more! Mom


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