My friend Char reminded me of the saying used by Batman’s sidekick Robin in the 1960s TV series, and it seemed appropriate to use it as a title for our visit to the medieval Spanish city as the 3 main things to see are the Cathedral, the Mosque and the Synagogue.
Long-time readers of our blogs know that we’re not … hmm, how to put this nicely? …. drawn to popular tourist places. Being only about 60kms south of Madrid, Toledo is a very popular tourist place. Tour buses, tour groups, school groups, entire streets full of souvenir shops plus lots more activities and things designed to extract as much money from tourists as possible. We walked around the narrow streets, got lost a couple of times, looked at the outside of the cathedral and the synagogue then decided we’d had enough and descended the 7 or 8 flights of elevators back down to normal street level.
We drove the 150-ish kms from Marina di Massa to Greve in Chianti yesterday and reached our Airbnb on the outskirts of Greve just before 2pm. We stopped in at a couple of supermarkets in Massa and got fuel for the second time since leaving Barcelona.
We’ve driven 1300 kms so far and I think we’ve spent more on road tolls than fuel! For the first part of yesterday’s drive, we thought we’d avoid the toll roads, just to see what it was like … we quickly realised that it was very slow going, through towns and villages with lots of traffic and low speed limits. Our GPS estimated it would take us at least an extra hour, so we headed back to the autostrada.
Our Airbnb place is lovely. It’s a self-contained apartment on the ground floor of a 16th century stone farm building on a vineyard. Our host lives in a separate house on the property and his parents live above where we’re staying. Some of the walls are at least 60cm thick! There’s a very old wood oven in a corner of the living room, and enormous timber beams supporting the ceiling. The apartment is very modern, with a good kitchen and bathroom and a comfortable bed!There’s even a friendly little kitten, Pepe, who sneaks in to visit us whenever he can. He likes to sleep on the bed and lie on the huge serving platter which sits on the coffee table. I’ll make sure I give it a good wash before we leave. You can see photos of our accommodation here
We’re only about 500m as the crow flies from where our ADL friends are staying at Fattoria Viticcio, a farmhouse which has been converted into upmarket accommodation. However our host’s mother told me that we couldn’t walk there, we have to drive. There used to be a track through, but it’s now overgrown and not safe to walk on. So after we unloaded the car, we went to visit Liz, Sean and the crew. Got lost and ended up way too far up the hill, but eventually found the right place and it’s lovely too. Probably a similar age to the place we’re staying at, but a much more substantial organisation with many rooms on several levels, and it’s still a working winery as well.
Last night was the Birthday Dinner, which was held at Enoteca Fuoripiazza Ristorante in Greve. 20 of us sat at a long table outside and ate our way through many plates of delicious antipasti, then mains, then dessert. The restaurant’s specialty is bisecca alla fiorentina t-bone steak which is sold by the kilogram. 41 euros/kg. About half the guests chose that – Sean’s 2 brothers shared around 1.5kg and ate it all, Liz and 4 friends shared 1kg and several of the young male guests at the other end of the table may well have consumed 1kg each! It was served very rare. Greg and I had wild boar stew with spinach and it was delicious. It was a lovely evening, Sean made a beautiful speech and I felt honoured to be able to help Liz celebrate her special birthday in such a special way.
Today we’re doing absolutely nothing. It’s the first day in a week that we haven’t been on the road, taking down and setting up camp, and apart from joining our friends for dinner tonight, we have nothing planned. Liz’s sister Triscia is in her element, cooking delicious meals for lots of people. Like me, Triscia enjoys feeding people. She is planning to cook pasta with truffles tonight.