Final day in Toledo… Or was I in the middle east?

Today was a great day for seeing a lot of what Toledo has to offer. So much culture here! And I had a little adventure also!

the alcazar is the home of the military museum but I was there to see it’s courtyard.

impressive building

a lot of Toledo has such an Arabic Moorish look. So multicultural!

this is what Toledo is known for… Not potstickers….mazapan!! So flipping delicious!!

Jewish symbols everywhere in the Jewish quarter recently installed to attract more attention to the area.

kittens in the El Greco museum courtyard!

very cool fixtures

Santa Maria la Blanca synagogue. Absolutely stunning! Oldest synagogue building still standing in Europe… Of course who owns it… The Catholic Church.

and then I rounded the corner and found this…. Arabic baths in a 12th century building. I went in and hung out in the baths and got an exfoliation medujar massage. It was so awesome!

a hot pool, tepid, and this one was freezing. You alternate between the hot and tepid with a quick soak in the cold one in between.

the massage was on a cold slab of marble where she slathered me up with some pretty rough gritty exfoliant. Felt great!!

my after massage treat.

you feel like you’re in the middle East half of the time!

cristo de la luz mezquita

These are the two women I met in Toledo. They are both from Ohio (get it… Ohio in Toledo…) Friends since 7th grade!

same Gatos from last night

san juan de los reyes monastery. Gorgeous!!

rock climbers!

view of Toledo from the parador hotel. Madrid tomorrow!!


How I found a great destination… Matera, Italy

Right now I’m sitting in an airport waiting for a flight. Although it’s not a flight to some far off land, it’s still exciting to me… And my mind wanders… To my last big vacation.

The last trip I took was to Italy but the places I went were not so typical. I had previously been to the “Biggie’s”, Rome, Venice, Florence, Siena, and a lovely hilltop town in Tuscany. On that trip, I fell in love… with Italy. Six months later I was back on a plane for more. I knew I wanted to go to southern Italy but where, I wasn’t sure. The way I found the town of Matera is a little strange.

I was watching a documentary about a couple accused of a murder in Italy. The man accused was from the town Bari, Italy. I had never heard of it, so I looked it up, saw some pictures, and started my research on the area all because of something that was totally unrelated. Bizarre, but it eventually lead to my amazing discovery.

While researching, everything I came across pointed to Matera and the surrounding region. My interest was piqued, I bought a ticket and off I went.

This was my first view. My jaw dropped. Matera is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities. It has been inhabited since the 10th millennia, b.c. The main attraction are the cave like dwellings called “sassi”. The Sassi are habitations dug into the rock itself. Around every corner was a picture to be taken.

It is a photographer’s dream! Matera is situated in the “arch” of the boot. Now is the time to go because it has been declared the Italian host of the European capital of culture for 2019. A lot of Europeans don’t even know about it. I was eating dinner next to an English couple and they were curious as to how I found it because they had never heard of it and they were in their 70’s.

These are some of the undeveloped sassi. Airbnb has moved into Matera and the prices are going up.

There are some that you can explore on your own. This is how people were living in the 1950’s along with their farm animals. The Italian government cleared these people out because of disease and squalor. In the 1980’s, they had a thought about the possibility for tourism. Then Mel Gibson moved in to film, “The Passion of the Christ.”

This was my Airbnb.

The restaurant next to my Airbnb. So awesome!!!

The second largest cistern in the world!

Matera at night, spectacular!

The modern square just above the sassi. If you go anywhere this year, make sure you stop in Matera. It does not disappoint!

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