Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: medieval

Day trip in little Toledo

When I travel to one place for a sufficiently long period of time (typically more than 3 days), I like to look for small cities or towns nearby my main destination and make that a day trip. During a week-long trip to Barcelona, my friend LS and I took a half-day trip to the nearby Girona. A 4-day getaway in northwestern France brought me to Pornic, an unexpected little corner of the country where I spent two hours. Of course, when I went searching for Mr.DS in Lisbon in April, I visited the medieval town of Ă“bidos for a day.

For Madrid, the detour was made in Toledo, a little medieval town 70 km to the south of Madrid. I had decided that I would definitely go for a visit, whether anyone came with me or not, after my oral presentation at the conference. After all, I finished it on the first day, and had nothing to worry about, woot!

So to Toledo I went, ultimately with some of my conference buddies and we unfortunately missed the train that we were originally going to take because it ran out of seats as we were making reservations. Boo đŸ˜¦ So then we waited two hours for the next one. The trip was quite short, taking only 33 minutes from central Madrid. We arrived and took a shuttle bus that took us from the train station to the city centre, which is situated on top of a gigantic hill. I would have loved to take the walk, but with a baby and a stroller in our party, the bus was a much more practical alternative on a hot day.

On the way to the city centre, we saw the AlcĂ¡zar of Toledo in a distance on top of the hill. The wheels on the bus went round and round, and up and up we went đŸ™‚

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A mission in Portugal, part 2 – Ă“bidos

The second part of the Portuguese mission took place in a little place called Ă“bidos some 80 kilometres north of Lisbon. I wanted to visit Sintra, but some of the IDS-FunMates have already been there (5 times for Carole!) So we decided to go somewhere that nobody had been to, and Ă“bidos it was! Originally it was supposed to be only Carole and me, but Tomin, Lo, and Tuyen joined after a little bit of convincing (or none at all). The more the merrier!

Ă“bidos is a medieval town that was once a wedding gift from a king to her queen, marked by a castle and surrounded by aged city walls. It was similar to other medieval towns I’ve been to, like Carcassonne and Saint-Émilion, and a fun place to spend a relaxing Sunday đŸ˜‰

A sign at the entrance gate of Ă“bidos for the medieval market that takes place in July and August. Ă“bidos has been a national monument since 1951. Another sign says, “It shelters the oratory dedicated to the patroness of Ă“bidos, Our Lady of Piety, concluded in the 17th century, with remarkable tile covering from 1740-45.”

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Saturday in Sarlat

Last weekend, I was planning to go to La Rochelle with some of the ladies, but due to some unexpected changes in scheduling, it had to be cancelled. Boo đŸ˜¦ I was extremely looking forward to it too!

So what did I do? I moved the trip to Sarlat with my friend ahead by a week. It was originally planned for next Saturday, but construction work on the railway on that day made it so that it’d take three and a half hours to get to Sarlat from Bordeaux instead of the usual two and a half, WITH a transfer to “autocar” (or bus) in Bergerac. If we went on the 12th, it would be an earlier, direct train, giving us the advantage of convenience and WAY more time in the town than expected. Score! No La Rochelle, no problem!

Sarlat, or Sarlat-la-CanĂ©da, is a medieval town in the Dordogne department in south-western France, a place known for its unspoiled countryside and villages. It is situated in what’s known as the PĂ©rigord region, which is further divided into four parts: black, green, purple, and white (PĂ©rigord noir, vert, pourpre, and blanc respectively in French). The four colours each describes a different characteristic of the regions they represent – black for the oak trees and chestnut trees, green for the hillside and meadows, purple for the luxurious wine, and white for the limestone plateaux. Sarlat is in black PĂ©rigord, the most famous and popular among tourists out of the four regions. (References here and here.)

Our journey started at 7:03 in the morning – on a Saturday! For a night owl like me who struggles to get out of bed even at 8:30, it was quite a challenge to start getting ready at 5:45 and take the 6:29 bus to the train station to catch the train. But both of us made it despite worrying that we’d oversleep! Heh, a 2.5-hour train ride gave us sufficient time to rest before reaching our destination, and we certainly took full advantage of that. Allons-y đŸ˜‰

The walk from the train station to the old town of Sarlat took a good 15 minutes or so. Bright red wild flowers were in full bloom along the road, adding such vibrant contrast to the scenery.

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