During this trip I’ve realized that getting lost in a city is not about throwing away the map. Getting lost is about discovering the charm of each city.
There’s no right or wrong way to travel. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing your homework of searching for information before going out in a new city. But when it comes to making a trip you’ll never forget, you first need to stop thinking about all the planning you normally do and try to get completely lost along the way. It might sound crazy, but you can gain a lot from diving headfirst into the unknown.
So this week I tried a different approach for my trip. I woke up in a Saturday morning and I thought that today I’m going to do a day trip in any city that is not that far from Madrid. After searching for like 5 minutes on the map, I’ve discovered the city of Toledo. “Sounds good, now let’s get ready and let’s go directly to the bus.” For this unexpected trip I called one of my friends and asked him “Do you wanna get lost with me in Toledo today?” and he said ” Toledo-what? You know, I’ll find out on my way to the bus, let’s just go.”
We spent one hour in the bus reading, looking through the window, wondering how the city looks like, feeling that pleasure of discovering the unknown. As soon as we arrived we went to a small shop, near the exit, from where we could buy a map. Right there, the shop assistant was an old man who was trying to give directions to some girls from Japan. The only problem was that those girls couldn’t speak Spanish and he didn’t understand English very much. So the way he explained them how to get to the city center was funny “Chicas, walking, walking, walking, 5 minutes, city center.” We called him “Map-Man” and we followed his advice, to go and see the city center.
We were looking for a different way to travel, being the kind of people who look for the places you won’t find in the guides, who dare to go on adventures. And our purpose for that day was to discover the city’s soul. So we got lost and fell in love with the streets of this city.
What made those streets that great? The people who live there, of course. Walking around gives you the freedom to see the locals’ daily life and by observing them, you realize that they’re different, from the way they talk, the places they shop to the food they eat, everything.
Because we were not rushing from one place to another, we could sit and just enjoy the amazing view.
Toledo is all about history with its narrow streets, ancient buildings and old city walls. Anything else? Well, they say “Toledo captures the essence of Spain” and I think it’s true. Here you discover the unique monuments of Muslims, Jews and Christians. However, it is the Christian churches and monasteries that now dominate the city.
We will probably won’t even remember how we got from one place to another, or what streets we walked, but we will remember one thing: No one can replicate the route we took. It’s 100 percent ours.
The best thing that we discovered was The Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo or “Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo” which is a Roman Catholic cathedral and an amazing representation of the Gothic style in Spain.
This trip in Toledo was the perfect time to do something different and exciting.
And we came back in Madrid with the best souvenir of all: a memory of an incredible adventure (and many postcards, of course).