Saturday, 7 February 2009

Revisiting Toledo, Spain

Toledo, Spain
View of the Tagus River and Alcantara Bridge

On January 26, it took about 35 minutes on the AVE high speed train for our second trip to Toledo south of Madrid, a distance of about 40 miles. Our first trip on August 7 took a couple of hours on a tour bus from our hotel. This time we did a self-guided tour with three other missionary couples - the Shepards, Reeses, and Perrys (from Samara); and for the most part we saw different things this time.

Our group visiting Toledo:
Steve & Linda Reese, Narene (Sam
took the picture), Greg & Chris,
and the Perrys from Samara Mission

We left from this train station in Madrid for Toledo
on an AVE high-speed train.

We were greeted by this statue outside the city wall.

Part of the city wall.

Puerta del Sol Gate

One of several city gates

Narene, Chris & Greg walking up the
broad steps

Narrow, cobbled streets

Window in a small market.
No, we didn't buy anything here,
but Chris and I did each buy
small Talavera pitcher in another shop.

Iglesia de Los Jesuitas
(standing in front: Perrys, Narene, and Linda)

Iglesia de Los Jesuitas

A closer look

We climbed the several flights of stairs to the top of Iglesia de Los Jesuitas for a great view of the city of Toledo. The stairs were not as steep and narrow as some of the cathedral towers we have climbed, such as in Prague. The following six photos are taken from this vantage point.

View of the Alcazar with its four corner towers.
This castle fortress is now a museum.
It was closed for restoration
in August and maybe still is.

A view of the tile roof tops nearby.

A view of the countryside and Tagus River

Narene & Sam on top of Iglesia de Los Jesuitas

In the bell tower of Iglesia de Los Jesuitas

A good view of the Cathedral of Toledo

On our previous visit with a guided tour, we went inside this cathedral. It is probably the most impressive attraction in Toledo, but on this second visit we only took a quick peek inside and admired the exterior architecture.

Cathedral of Toledo

Close-up above an entrance to the Cathedral

Looking back at Iglesia de Los Jesuitas

Museo de Santa Cruz

The Museo de Santa Cruz is a free museum in a 16th-century building that was a hospital. The collection is divided into three sections: Archaeology (devoted to the Roman, Visigothic, Moorish, and Mudejar cultures), Fine Arts (16th and 17th-century paintings from Toledo and works by such artists as El Greco), and Industrial Arts (with examples of traditional local crafts of ceramic, glass, fabric, wrought iron, and metalwork).

Courtyard of the Museo de Santa Cruz

Carriage in the Museo de Santa Cruz

Vase in the Museo de Santa Cruz

Another narrow street on our walking tour

Narene & Sam pose with Cervantes

Chris & Greg had their turn with Cervantes

Alcantara Bridge over the Tagus River
(Sam took this picture on our way back to the
train station.)

Toledo train station

Back in Madrid

An unusal statue in the Madrid train station

We had tapas here in Madrid
when we returned from Toledo.
(Steve, Chris, Greg, & Narene in photo)

In Spain, it is common to have dinner between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., even as late as midnight; and tapas are considered a snack often eaten between work and dinner. Ours were filling and served for our dinner. Mine was a chicken dish.

Earlier, I only posted two photos
from our first visit to Toledo.
Since we saw other interesting attractions then,
I am adding some more pictures
from our August visit.

Our small tour group in August.
The guide has her back to the camera.
She gave information in English and in Spanish;
as our group had two Spanish ladies, two from Japan,
two from Egypt, and Sam and me.

We toured inside the huge Cathedral of Toledo,
the city's major tourist attraction.
(Narene & Sam)

Cathedral of Toledo

We also toured inside the impressive
San Juan de Los Reyes Church.

San Juan de Los Reyes Church

San Juan de Los Reyes Church

We went inside El Greco's Home & Museum.

We visited Mezquita del Cristo de las Luz.
(Mosque of Christ of the Light)

The Mosque of Christ of the Light dates back to 999 and is intact today and is the only surviving mosque out of ten that once stood throughout Toledo. Through the horseshoe arches there is a glimpse of Christian murals.

Rock walls in Toledo
(Narene walking up the cobbled street.)

Parroquia de Santa Leocadia
(Church of Santa Leocadia)
by the Convent of San Domingo - 13th Century

Archbishop's Palace

Many narrow streets and walkways

Occasionally we had to hug the wall for a car to pass.

Wider streets in the shopping area

Cambron Gate

Valmardon Gate

San Martin Bridge & Eastern Tower

"Kings from all parts of the world have had swords and tabers forged from Toledo," as Toledo is known for the quality of its swords. We stopped at a factory where steel swords and also unique jewelry were made. I bought a damascene necklace with matching bracelet and earrings.

"Damascening is the application of gold or silver on iron or steel to produce a decorative pattern. The procedure used by the artisans is to cover the surface of the object lengthwise and across with fine, narrow grooves, by means of sharp steel cutting tools. Then gold threads or fine wires are taken and the decorative pattern drawn, the wire being pressed into grooves by means of a steel punch. In order that the gold is perfectly retained it is hammered in with a small punch and a hammer. Afterwards the part is blued using the same procedure as employed for blueing firearms," which gives it a protective blue-black finish.

Bullfighting Stadium

Toledo city wall

Tagus River & Alcantara Bridge

Saying goodbye to Toledo

On our return from Toledo in August, we spent the evening visiting the Prado art museum. We have happy memories of both visits to Toledo.

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