What we did in Toledo

So sometime around 1PM our guide suddenly departed. She reminded us to get to the bus on time and disappeared. We’d paid for a 20 minute walk through a maze and a late bus. We wondered what to do. Here we were on top a hill laden with history. People had been living on this spot since pre-history. The land had been controlled by Visigoths, Moors, Romans, and Spain, to name a few. Burt wanted to see the synagogue. I wanted to see the El Greco painting. We GPS’d the sights and started trying to navigate. Lunch was a priority.

We found a lunch spot and ate some okay food. The lunch was fine anywhere but not really up to the standards of Mexico or Spain. Afterwards we headed in the general direction of El Greco’s The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. I saw this painting on my first tour and it probably was the first time a work of art stunned me. It’s ethereal and otherworldly. The immense size and confounding lack of positional references sucked me in. I had to see it again. The link above gives the story. So check that off the old list, I saw it again and it was just as marvelous as I remembered.

Next, but maybe before, I did a quick self guided tour of the Cathedral of Toledo. It’s very popular now to wear a small ipod device and headphones and listen to the official narration of the site being visited. This was my first time using one and it was the perfect place to try. The Toldeo Cathedral is massive and old. It is built on the site of a mosque and a Visigoth church. The main body of the church is constructed with relics of preceding places of worship, including the moorish arches surrounding the choir area. There are side chapels with their own daily masses. The side chapels are as big as churches.  In one of the side chapels a daily visigoth christian mass is offered. This mass has been practiced in this location for over a millennium. The Visigoths ruled in Spain before the Moors. There is more gold than any other church except Saint Peter’s. Much of the gold came from the New World. So I listened and what I learned was I am an ignoramus. Burt needed to be on the tour and he had opted to walk around outside. So there I was getting the history of the world as expressed in a cathedral and I hardly knew who they were talking about. It’s an amazing thing to consider. This site has been the home of a place of worship for more than a thousand years and as it stands now it has incorporated all the preceding religions, architecturally and decoratively. Add to that the gilding of Spain’s years of global dominance and it is overwhelming. So after 20 minutes I left. This spot is worthy of a week’s visit by itself. Here’s a MAP. Site #4 is the Capilla Mozarabe where the Visigoth Mass happens. I left before the end of the recording. It was all too much to digest. I’d like to go back with Burt. No photos allowed in many of the sacred places so no photos here.

Next we found the ancient synagogue. Toledo, and Spain, have a rich Jewish history. For hundreds of years people got along. And then they didn’t. Or, I like to think, it was like now, most of us get along and some of us don’t no matter where we come from or what we look like. So sad there are still assholes. They always cause trouble for all of us. The synagogue also went through permutations as peoples came and went. Currently it is restored to it’s original intent and serves as a museum. The relics in here were beautiful. I like how the roof looks like a boat. Some cultures used boats as roofs and it make me think, chicken or the egg. Was it a boat first or a roof first?

More later.

Synagogue interior
Synagogue interior
Original floor.
Original floor.
Is that the jawbone of an ass?
Is that the jawbone of an ass? No it’s a horn horn.
Decoration
Decoration
Woman's robe
Woman’s robe
Jewelry that would be popular today.
Jewelry that would be popular today.

 

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One thought on “What we did in Toledo”

  1. Really nice that you got to experience this when a teenager. I got to see where Washington lived and Plymouth Rock!

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