Feb 19 Toledo

Next on our list for our journey north was Toledo.  We had been recommended to stay at Camping El Greco as it is very convenient for getting a bus or walking into town.  Again, the site was quiet but there were a handful of other campers there.  We were very entertained by a lovely Welshman, Rob, who managed to freeze his washing by hanging it over a hedge to dry overnight.  Temperatures have been zero or lower at night since we left the south.  There was bread to be had at reception in the morning if you were quick.  With so few visitors, he only ordered in a handful of loaves so I felt triumphant when I managed to get my hands on one.

We spent 2 days exploring Toledo which we found very appealing.  As you approach the city, it appears before you with the cathedral dominating the scene.  The whole city has the status of a National Monument and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  It sits on a rocky mound and every available inch has been built upon with churches, synagogues, mosques and houses piled up in a spiral of cobblestoned streets. 

As with all the old cities, Toledo was originally captured by the Romans in 192 BC, taken by the Visigoths, and then the Moors arrived in 712.  Moors, Jews and Mozarabes (Christians subject to Moorish rule) lived together here in relative equality to make Toledo the most important northern outpost of the Muslim Emirates.  All these influences can be seen at every turn and it is enough to wander around the streets of the city admiring the views.

We visited the cathedral which is one of the most beautiful we have seen.  The colours, the art (some El Greco pieces) and the amazing statuary, were all incredible.

Chapel ceiling
Painting of a giant in the cathedral
Art gallery
El Greco painting in the cathedral art gallery
Art gallery ceiling
Pictures of cardinals through history
Imagery and statuary making such an impact
This ceiling statuary is like nothing we have ever seen!

The next day we visited the Jewish Quarter.  The views from the city wall here were lovely, as were those on the main road into Toledo from the campsite.

Loved this statue on the road into Toledo
Gateway on road into the city

On our list of places to visit was the church of Santo Tomé which houses the famous painting by El Greco, “The Burial of the Lord of Orgaz”.  Clyde thought it was a bit gloomy, but I enjoyed seeing such a well executed painting.  I even bought a postcard which is now upsetting Clyde nightly from its place opposite the bed!  No picture here I am afraid as it was forbidden to take any in the church.  El Greco being the adopted son of Toledo, there is also a museum, but we decided that the church and the paintings in the cathedral, had satisfied my El Greco requirements.

Postcard of the famous painting

Another place we visited was the synagogue of Santa Maria La Blanca.  It is a feast of Moorish style pillars in white and gold.

There was so much more to see and enjoy in Toledo. Most of the old buildings have been restored and preserved and there are more museums than you can ever hope to visit. There were plenty of Chinese tourists having a jolly good attempt at it!

Lovely curved church