For most of the trip, I was hoping to spend a few hours in Toledo on our last day in Spain. Allan was skeptical at best, feeling it would make the day too rushed and pressured. I was holding out hope until the last moment, but once we found the highway out of Bilbao and saw the time, I realized he was right. What's more, the medieval synagogue in Toledo, the main site I wanted to see there, is closed on Mondays. The interior is supposed to be beautifully preserved, but we wouldn't get to see it anyway. Ah well. I reluctantly gave up on the idea.
We had breakfast in Bilbao across the street from our hostal, in a lovely little cafe/bar, the kind that will make me miss Spain. I must note that I asked for a slice of something at the bar, thinking it was an egg tortilla... and it was cheesecake. Yummy cheesecake, but nevertheless, I had cheesecake for breakfast, a first for me. Naturally when I finished the cake, the host came out of the kitchen with a big egg tortilla. We had a good laugh over that.
We had an easy highway drive down to Madrid. Soon after leaving Euskadi/Basque Country, the dark green forest faded to dusty orchards. Once when we pulled off the highway for a driving break, to stretch our legs, we saw two lovely dogs, then a man who they appeared to be with. It seemed very strange to see dogs - loose, not on leashes - and a pedestrian on a service road near the highway, until we saw their flock of sheep! The man was a shepherd, and there was a third dog among the sheep. The pasture ran all the way to the service road.
We drove to the town of Barajas, right near the Madrid airport, where we had a room booked at a Best Western airport hotel. After checking in and leaving our bags in the room, we drove to the airport, returned the rental car, then took the Best Western shuttle back to the hotel. A few doors down, we had wine and pintxos, and to my surprise, the food was really good. I order huevos rotos, the fried eggs over whatever you want, in this case garlic shrimp and patatas frias.
We wandered around the main drag trying to find a mailbox (see next post), to no avail. Then we bought our final bottle of vino tinto for 2.50 - and that is marked up at the corner store!
We had a terrific trip, and are also happy to be going home. We miss the dogs a lot, I'm excited about my new job, and Allan is anxious about his looming book deadline. What a difference for me, returning to a job I enjoy!
Now we return to the crack-smoking mayor, the voter-suppressed federal government, the badly-behaved Canadian third baseman, and the first place Boston Red Sox. And most importantly, Tala and Diego!