Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Toledo. Definitely NOT Ohio

The one and only picture of the two of us together from our trip

We spent our last full day in Spain on a day trip to Toledo, a 30 minute train ride away from Madrid (I'll get to Madrid last). After being in Madrid for two days, it was really nice to see some open space again.

Toledo is basically a walled medieval city on a hill overlooking the sun-baked plains of La Mancha with narrow winding streets. It is the city of El Greco, Cervantes and El Cid, and is largely unchanged since El Greco painted it around 1600.

However, one thing that has changed is that Toledo is the most overtly touristy place we visited - souvenir shops abound, admission fees at every little place (churches, houses, monasteries and even a synagogue!), upscale boutiques on the main squares, etc. Yet, somehow, Toledo was still charming and fun to explore. I've already gone on about Sagrada Familia, but Toledo also has a great Cathedral with a treasure trove of art by El Greco, Caravaggio, Velasquez, Raphael and more - worthy of any museum. But of course my favorite experience was getting lost on the narrow maze of streets, finding a local restaurant (it smelled good, so in we went) and enjoying a little local color.

Oh, and did I mention that Toledo is famed for its marzipan? Yeah. Given my nut "problem", I know it won't surprise you that I not only sampled the marzipan while I was there, but before heading back to Madrid, I snagged a box to take with me. It will be opened and devoured on Saturday with enough other people around to ensure that I don't eat it all myself. Then again, no one would know if a few pieces went missing before then...

No comments: