Day 7: Crowds

Working in China can mean a lot of great things. The number 1 perk of living abroad is the amount of traveling Dave and I can do. With 3 months off annually, we’ve seen at least 4 countries per year for the last 5 years. It’s been a pretty amazing ride.

Last spring festival was spent in Indonesia. One of the most incredible trips of my life!

Of course, living in China also has its downsides. I work every day of the week to keep up with my insane courseload. I work on average 60-70 hours per week, often finishing my grading at midnight. I also work most weekends, preparing for Monday’s classes. Please believe me when I say I work very, very hard for these holidays!

My stack of grading right before the holiday. It took me 3 days but I was suppose to have it done in 2…

Of course, living in China also means constantly being surrounded by people. Even China’s small cities have 2 million people, and Suzhou has 8 million. By the time our holidays arrive, I’m so tired of crowds that I just want to get away from every human other than Dave.

I don’t mind this guy…. But I need a break from everyone else haha!!

So far, Spain has been an amazing break from the hoards of people we’re used to. Even in Madrid, we were able to choose activities that kept us away from the masses.

In China I would have waited ages and still never have gotten this shot without people in it

But today, in Toledo, we were reminded why we have been choosing quieter activities for the last week. Toledo was a nuthouse!

It was like this everywhere we turned

Toledo is less than an hour from Madrid, so it’s an easy getaway from the capital. The town is cute but MUCH more geared towards tourists than either Avila or Segovia. Both of the smaller towns seemed to have a local life of their own, whereas Toledo seems to just exist for tourism.

Everywhere you go in Toledo, these swords are being sold. They range from 6€ to 400€, depending on the size and details…. At one point, I waited nearly 10 minutes to pay for 4 post cards, as the sales person tried convincing a young guy to drop nearly $500 Canadian on a decorative toy….

We tried to enjoy ourselves in spite of the masses, but when we walked into the Cathedral to hear a Chinese kid scream “whaaaaa!!!!”, I knew our day was circling the drain.

I should add that the child was not shouting in awe. He was just shouting. Kids in China are basically allowed to be as loud as they want to be… That doesn’t change when they are visiting holy places or are in areas where screaming is clearly not appropriate

By 1pm we started getting grumpy with each other, so we decided to hop in the car and get out of the city.

Toledo has a great free parking area just outside of the walls. They’ve built a lot of escalators too so that tourists don’t need to climb all the way back up. On the left, the escalators are going down, and out of the city. On the right, tourists are heading into Toledo. I’m glad we left when we did

We didn’t see anything too spectacular, but we enjoyed the ride, the quiet and the fresh air. Today, it was warm enough to have the windows rolled down!

Spain’ Southern Countryside

Tomorrow we head to Barcelona!