Mon 16 Jun 2003
Toledo turned out to be a beautiful town, as only was to be expected! We arrived there around midday on the 13th and checked into our first 'hostel', which turned out to be our nicest accommodation so far! The room was very nice and large and featured a rather pleasant balcony out on the street and a very friendly host.
We started with a visit to the Iglesia de Santo Tome, a fairly unsignificant church with an extremely significant painting inside by El Greco. We spent quite a while in there looking at the painting and managed to catch a tourguide explaining how this was one of the four most famous paintings in the world.. of course that sparked a discussion on whether or not it really was. His other three in the top 4 were Mona Lisa, the Nightwatch and a painting by Velazquez (which name has escaped me, as has the El greco one ). Funny how two spanish artists managed to feature
There is a lot of El Greco to be seen in Toledo, including a house museum with a lot of his works which is what we visited next. One thing we have found on our trip is that our Youth Cards actually seem to be paying off as they did on this occassion again, gaining us free entry to the museum!
There are a lot of things to be seen in Toledo and a lot of people are trying to make money off of that.. One of the two synagogues, which is rather small, but still very beautiful inside, costs 1,50 to enter. The other is currently being renovated, so not hope of even entering there. Prices for food and drink seemed higher than Cordoba and Sevilla, which was a little unexpected, but not surprising considering the amount of tourists visiting the town.
The Cathedral was a rather pleasant and lengthy visit. Every little town in Spain has a big cathedral it seems, which is usually its prime attraction. The Cathedral in Toledo was quite worthwhile though, with some very nice artworks inside, from the likes of Breughel, El Greco, Goya, Velazquez and many other big names - undoubtedly not all peacefully obtained! There was also an exhibition of Cardinals' cloaks and treasury items which provided some more interest.
It seems that every night there is something going on in Toledo, probably partially because we were there on the weekend, but also because the Corpus Christi celebrations were starting to heat up. Last night as we were wandering from the river back up the (rather steep and tiring hill) we came across a procession on their way to the cathedral. No big pointy hats at this stage, probably saved for next week, but still an interesting thing to encounter and something we hadn't really expected. While the procession walked up the windy streets on their way to the cathedral, we caught the rather convenient, and very stylishly created, escalators on the side of the mountain! I tell you, there is nothing more handy than escalators on the side of a steep hill.
In the evening we wandered to the cathedral to see where they had ended up and found there was a public performance of traditional dance and music going on. We of course stayed there for a while to watch the singing and dancing that was being put on display for us.
All in all, Toledo has been a very enjoyable experience. Now on to Madrid.