Ilivetolearn's Blog

December 30, 2005

Toledo again

Filed under: food/groceries,on the road,Spain — ilivetolearn @ 1:42 pm

On the 28th, we were once again up and out early…one carload (the younger Rosses and Phoebe) headed straight back to Madrid for some shopping (they never come to Spain without hitting a certain ceramics store) and hanging out in Plaza Mayor. The rest of us did the patented “get in the car and then decide where you’re going” thing. Decided Cordoba was too much of a detour and we couldn’t do it justice in half a day, so ended up going to Toledo. Our first impression of it in September had been not too favorable (very touristy) but this time around we were in a different sector of the city. First after stashing the car underground we went up the famous escalator carved into the hillside, above and below the old city walls. It was installed in 2000 with the King himself in attendance. Great views. At the top we followed signs toward two famous old synagogues, stopping on the way at Monasterio de San Juan de los Reyes, built by the Catholic Monarchs in 1476. The façade is adorned with rows of iron brackets which puzzled us (were people hung up there?) until we read that they were fetters removed from Christian prisoners freed from the Muslims in Andalucia.

It’s disconcerting to tour a site called “Sinagoga de Santa Maria la Blanca”—is it a church or a synagogue?—actually, neither anymore. It was a synagogue in the 12th century, then a church from 1405 on. At some point it also seems to have been used as a mosque. I was sorry not to be able to read much of the Spanish interpretive material about the archaeology involved in its restoration. From there we went to the El Greco House and Museum, which has a great collection of his portraits (including one of each of the apostles) but wasn’t really his house. I was anticipating period furnishings and information about daily life, as we saw in the Cervantes house in Valladolid, but no.

Lunch at a restaurant that was ordinary except for the music playing…opera arias with an overlaid techno beat, of all things. We were laughing so hard we could hardly eat. Drove back to Pozuelo to unload and compare notes with the other half of the travel team.

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