riding on buses with strangers

About a month ago (I know. I suck at blogging.) a friend suggested going to Toledo as a day trip from Madrid. My control freak completely normal enjoyment for planning trips kicked in and I started to look up how to get there, things to do, etc. etc. I stumbled across a recommendation to visit Consuegra.

Consuegra? With mother-in-law? Haven’t heard of it. Sounds lame.

Google, what do you say?

Consuegra at Dusk

(source)

SWEET MOTHER OF GOD!!

Being the complete Don Quijote nerd that I am, I knew instantly what these windmills were.

You see, Consuegra is located in the autonomous community Castilla-La Mancha. The same community where Miguel Cervantes’s fictional character Don Quijote de la Mancha is from!

holaaa miguelitooo ❤

In Miguel Cervantes’s world renowned novel, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, the wacky Don Quijote sets out on an adventure with his dim witted squire, Sancho Panza, to revive chivalry. In one particular episode DQ battles windmills that he thinks to be feral giants.

THESE WERE THOSE WINDMILLS! OMG OMG OMG! 😀

77031614don-quixote-windmill-380x180

(source)

I immediately began to research ways of getting to Consuegra from Toledo and surprise surprise there was going to be a festival the next week! I tried to tell my friends about the awesomeness of this new plan, but they wouldn’t bite the bait. Different strokes for different folks.

So I told those losers to kick rocks and started looking for other adventure seekers. (just kidding about the first part 😉 )

So here is the real cool thing about living here and working as an auxiliar de conversación. There are nearly FIFTEEN HUNDRED of us in Madrid alone. There are TWENTY-FIVE HUNDRED on the auxiliar facebook page. Post a question about where to buy some special hand cream and ten people will respond (and possibly one bitch who will tell you to use the search bar). This really is the most amazing thing about living here. You’re never alone. This doesn’t happen often living abroad. Sure there are expat communities everywhere, but in no other city abroad have I been able to put “hey anyone wanna go here?” and get a response.

I got 12 responses. Two days later I was on a bus with a complete stranger talking about blogging of all things. He’s a professional and he let me in on what I thought was a well known secret, blogspot sort of ummmm well kind of umm SUCKS! So as a follow up to an “internet fight” (Yes, it happened) I had with the perra I was talking about before, lero leroooo I was right and you were wrong. If you have blogspot I think you’re stupid. End of story. End rant.

Ok ok I’m mainly making fun of myself!

Anyway we were off to Toledo to meet up with two other strangers in a castle where we’d be staying the night.

Yes. This is my life.

my hostel/castle in the background

Within an hour of meeting the other two, a part Spaniard/part American couple, we were hitting the road for Consuegra to take part in La Fiesta de la Rosa del Azafrán. 

The festival began in the early 60s as a celebration of one of the world’s most expensive spices, saffron. This delicious spice, which is key to making a good paella, is literally worth its weight in gold. The festivities of la fiesta include parades and gastronomical contests, traditional folk dancing, grinding of wheat in the windmill named Sancho and the crowning of a pageant queen, Dulcinea.

None of which we saw.

Upon arriving we took a glimpse at the windmills and decided to refuel before trekking up the hill to marvel at those ferocious giants. We sat down for a dinner that wouldn’t end until three hours later. ¡Qué Español! Exiting the restaurant that was naturally underground, we realized it was already pitch black night time. We decided to suck it up anyway and make the poorly lit trek up to the windmills which now looked like floating white orbs against the black night sky.

looking for giants and restoring chivalry all in the name of our fair lady Dulcinea del Toboso

Although we didn’t really get to enjoy the celebrations of the festival, us strangers managed to have a truly wonderful day in Consuegra. Seeing the pages of my book come to life before my eyes was a magical experience I’ll take with me forever.

After a night in hostel-castle we spent the next day exploring charming Toledo. Our new Spanish friend was a local boy and got to show us around and tell us a few lesser known facts about this seriously beautiful city.

hostel-castle ftw
Tagus River, Puente de Alcántara and el Alcázar
with my travel buddy! the two columns were meant to be the same, but they ran out of funds during construction and had to make it this way

“Demasiada cordura puede ser la peor de las locuras, ver la vida como es y no como debería de ser.” -Miguel de Cervantes

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