Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jesus our savior

After a less than restful night, Ken and Mother of Ken set out to seek breakfast. Unfortunately, they chose a “café” which consisted of a gentleman behind the counter shouting “what do you want?” and Ken shouting back our order. The sumptuous repast consisted of a tiny cup of café con leche and one piece of toast. That’s it. To add insult to injury, Ken and Mother of Ken had to get up and get their food and coffee and bring it back to their table. Ken was displeased. Upon exiting this establishment, Mother of Ken gently suggested that they purchase Ken’s favorite candy bar, Nestle Chocolate Extrafino, which they did. Now fortified, they set off in search of Toledo cathedral.

The map generously provided by the Hotel Sol was not as detailed as one might hope. After two or three false starts, Ken suddenly let out a piercing scream, crumpled the map, and screamed again. Mother of Ken is used to this behavior –ha ha we are just kidding. Ken exclaimed angrily, “I hate this city! They need more street signs!” Regaining her composure, Ken was able to locate the cathedral, although because of renovations, we had to walk around the entire thing to get to the correct entrance. Working as a team, Ken and Mother of Ken traversed the cathedral, stopping at noteworthy chapels, exhibition spaces, and paintings. Ken dictated notes to Mother of Ken, who graciously wrote everything down.

Two and a half hours later, Ken and Mother of Ken were famished. Fortunately, Ken had asked Mother of Ken to write down some restaurant suggestions from the guidebook. They chose the Restaurante Taberna Alferitos. Our advice to you is that if you are ever in Toledo, eat at this restaurant. Ken and Mother of Ken were escorted to a quiet table on the third floor. The kindly waiter provided a menu in English, which was extremely helpful because otherwise, we might have accidentally ordered squid.
Lunch began with slices of artisanal bread and tomatoes drizzled with olive oil. Next came the most beautiful salad ever glimpsed by Ken and Mother of Ken (who were by now excited to see any salad that did not contain white lettuce and tuna). The salad contained arugula, radicchio, hearts of palm, cheese, grapes, tomatoes, green and white asparagus, and candied sunflower seeds. It was pure bliss. After the salad came a plate of Iberian ham with coarse mustard and a frozen apple puree. In a word: heaven.

Following this, a plate of roasted vegetables appeared accompanied by a plate of giant prawns and fried cheese. The vegetables were perfectly cooked and seasoned and the prawns were tender and flavorful. After days of eating “street food,” this was nirvana.

The meal was concluded with café con leche and a small shortbread cookie and a small chocolate truffle for each of us. Ken and Mother of Ken noticed the name of the chef was Jesus Castillo. After this wonderful meal, they were prepared to kiss Jesus’ feet, but he was busy.

Ken and Mother of Ken spent the rest of the afternoon visiting monasteries and we returned to our hotel to find that they had moved our luggage into our new room, a larger room with two beds. It was time to wash out a few items, which turned into a major project. Ken and Mother of Ken simulated the agitation of a washing machine by pushing the clothes in a circular motion around the bathtub. While Mother of Ken rinsed the clothes, Ken hung them on the special Tide hooks brought just for this purpose. Periodically, it is necessary to squeeze the excess moisture from the clothes as they are hanging, but the good news is that we found a new use for the swinging shower door. We were able to swing it into the bathtub so that the clothes drip into the tub instead of onto the floor. This is as close to roughing it as we get.

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