Holy Toledo! According to Señor Rick (Steves), this expression likely originated with Sephardic Jews who called Toledo the holiest city in Europe (back when Jews, Muslims, and Christians thrived together here). I spent the day exploring Toledo, only a half hour train ride from Madrid, and found it absolutely charming (of course, I have yet to meet a Spanish city I didn’t like). Perched up on a hill, the whole city has been declared a national monument, keeping its rich historic, artistic, and spiritual center intact. I visited the Cathedral, which Señor Rick calls one of Europe’s best, as well as the central plaza, shopping district, and several former synagogues, now museums. This is definitely a town worth visiting.
The view of Toledo with the Alcazar and Cathedral on the way in on the bus.
The San Martin medieval bridge over the Tajo River, which rings the city on three sides.
The Plaza Zocodover, in the middle of town.
Toledo has many charming streets with shops and restaurants.
Too bad I wasn't in the market for a good knife or a sword...these are specialties of Toledo.
...as is marzapan, which I had to sample.
I wish I had held out some money and room in my suitcase to shop here!
The Cathedral was jaw-dropping, inside and out.
The high alter was made with real gold on wood by artists from all over Europe.
This was a cool feature: a "transparente," or hole cut in the ceiling to let in the light...a Baroque technique.
The "Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca" has Moorish architecture, was a Jewish synagogue, and became a church in 1492 when Jews were required to convert or leave the country.
The train station has neo-Moorish architecture as well. Everywhere, there are signs that different cultures once lived here in peace.
It was a beautiful day, but my feet hurt! So I grabbed the tour bus down to the train station.