Monday, June 22, 2009


A highlight for the summer is our excursion week where we will get a chance to see much more of Spain. Saturday morning, it was another early morning departure for a 6 hour bus ride to the first stop, Toledo.

Along the way, we passed through the land of Cervantes and Don Quixote. So, it was appropriate to visit a castle with some nearby old windmills. Castles like this show up frequently on hill tops along the highway. This one was nice because it gave us a chance to see the surrounding country as well as the castle, windmills, and small village below.

In Texas and the United States, we have a very limited sense of local history. Lubbock County was founded in 1876 and the town of Lubbock founded in 1890 and incorporated in 1909. Of course, the southwestern United States was inhabited by Indian and Spanish cultures long before that but the community of Lubbock is young from a historical perspective.

Toledo, Spain, the first stop of our excursion week, had its first inhabitants during the Bronze Age, 1300-700 BC. Located in central Spain, it was a commercial and administrative center during the Roman Empire. Toledo was the capital of Visgothic Spain under control of the Visigothic Christians (400-700 AD). From 700-1500 AD, Toledo and much of Spain were under the control of the Moorish Muslims from northern Africa. During this time period, Christians, Muslims, and Jews peacefully coexisted and Toledo flourished as a cultural and commercial center. Spanish Catholics took control in the 15th century and the capital of Spain was established in Madrid.

Today, Toledo is a beautiful city with about 80,000 inhabitants. Old Toledo is a fortress city on a hill surrounded on three sides by a river. There are many historic sites to visit including the palace and cathedral.

Texas Tech kids having a good time...

After a busy evening and day of sightseeing, some of the students took advantage of a few quiet moments to relax before heading for the train to Madrid.

More pictures from Toledo are available at the following link: Toledo Photo Album

Today we are in Madrid and the focus changes to art. There is an abundant variety of art venues and we are going to see as many as possible in the next three days.

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