Chattering people and the clanging church bells distracted me from my early morning read. Looking towards where the noise was coming from rewarded us with a spectacular sunrise unfolding behind the old city.
Then the sun was out, the air crisp and fresh, we were ready to stroll down more of the tiny alleyways, a city that was indeed very beautiful and unique.
This was the beginning of our first full day exploring Toledo.
Firstly a brief summary.
- Toledo was the medieval capital of Spain until the kings decided to move their court to Madrid.
- The Cathedral of Toledo is the second richest temple in the world after Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
- It’s one of the most famous cities in the country because of its diverse history.
- Emperor Carlos V once said in 1556 that Toledo is a place where the sun never sets and he might just be onto something.
Santa María La Blanca Synagogue which is now a museum and owned by the Spanish Catholic Church [see below link for more information.
- The architecture of this walled town is very unique in Spain and is likely due to being slated as the “City of the Three Cultures”, having been influenced by a historical co-existence of Christians, Muslims and Jews before 1085.
Our exploring was made much more comfortable with the discovery of an escalator, resulting in a pleasurable walking time for the Squire. When the escalator was built, it meant a section of the centuries-old fortifications had to be bulldozed so the old and new could meld into an unobtrusive and sculptural egress. Many historians must have cringed at the thought of the first destruction, their medieval ramparts breached by shiny stainless steel, but the resulting structure is perfect, and it works. The reconstructed walls look as if no stones were touched, while the escalators sinuously [Just to impress, I’m learning a few new words] wind their way through and behind them. At peak usage, you can use your imagination to gauge how many people a day would ride those escalators. That is a fantastic accomplishment.
Now that we were up amongst the mass of other tourists, after using the escalators, we chose to wander around the streets in search of a more local artisan experience, than the thousands of tourist items made in China. This was satisfied when we were approached by a friendly young man who shared information regarding a co-operative artisan place that is opened for a few hours today, and it just happened to be his workplace.
Okay it was apparent to us he was looking at bringing more tourists to his workplace, and of course we obliged, in the end, we were pleased we took up his impromptu invite. As it was one of the highlights of our visit to Toledo.
The entrance, which was somewhat understated to what little treasures that were being created in this building. Below is one of the skilled craftsmen at work, while to the side his workmate was explaining in detail what was being done.
It really did feel like an honour to be there watching how the jewellery was made.
Totally mesmerised, we put the map away, kept walking and wholly lost ourselves in the streets of Toledo. Sometimes that just feels the right thing to do in some cities. Toledo was one such city.
Links for more information on Toledo, as it was impossible to cover all aspects of this city in one short visit: