The two things I come up with whenever I think about the word, Toledo, have absolutely nothing to do with Spain. It’s either the Robin reference above or MASH’s Corporal Clinger’s hometown. However, after today, I can think about marzipan statues, steel blades, and red poppies (covering the ground where ancient Romans walked).
Toledo is pretty cool. It has a pretty long history of being a really important city as it was conquered by Romans, capitalized by Visigoths, inhabited by Muslims, taken by the Catholic kings, and recently named the gastronomical center of Spain. Our first stop on the tour was a panoramic view of the city, stunning! Because the main part of the city is up on a hill, there are escalators as well as stairs which make the climb a lot easier (except when there’s a traffic jam because someone dropped their sunglasses).
The city was all dressed up for the Corpus Christi holiday that they are celebrating this week. It was beautiful with flowers all over the place and these huge dolls that were put on display after the parade. Here they are now:
I’ll let you decide how creepy they are. Anywho, we also went to the cathedral which has some very important art by El Greco. This cathedral had the most detailed stained-glass windows I have seen so far in this trip. To mark the graves of the cardinals buried there, they use these red sombrero-like things that hang above the grave-marker. Those were really interesting. The relic here is a rock that was supposedly touched by the Virgin when she performed a miracle in Toledo. The most awe-inspiring part was when one of the artists decided to create an opening in part of the roof to let in more light and sculpted some pretty incredible things by it. It was definitely the Baroque style, but it did not need to be fixed.
We also saw a synagogue from the 13th century which looked more like the Muslim mosques we have been studying about, then a synagogue. That was because the Muslims were in charge of the city at the time and the architect used Muslim influences. Also, if you want to know a fun word to say in Spanish it’s “mezquita” which means mosque. Just makes me happy.
The weirdest thing we saw was this modern clothing store built on top of Roman ruins. How did we know that there were Roman ruins beneath? The floor was transparent! You could literally see the crumbled formations. Next door were the Roman baths which were also pretty cool. Not as well preserved as in England, but still pretty cool to explore.
Toledo is also part of La Mancha, aka Don Quixote’s hometown. Therefore, there was plenty of Quixote and Sancho to go around. We found this statue made out of marzipan and this other one which wasn’t:
Basically, it was a beautiful day filled with beautiful things to see and eat. I love just being able to step back in history for a time and then come back to the present by the means of escalators and air-conditioned buses. The 21st century rocks!
Also, this post would really be remiss if I did not mention our trip to the temple this week. We did baptisms and confirmations for the ancestors of those in our group. It was a really special experience. The temple is so beautifully simple which was a great relief from all of the hustle and bustle of this trip. It is so cool because the temple serves those from Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy, so they have to include all of those different languages for the services. Pretty soon, though, all of those countries will have their own temples. Happy day! So many exciting things to come.