Thursday, July 22, 2010

2010 Spain Day 9 - Toledo

The plan for the day is to explore Toledo. This city was Spain's capital until the 16th century. It has 2,500 years of Roman, Visigothic, Moorish and Christian history. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage as one of the former capitals of the Spanish Empire and place of coexistence of Christian, Jewish and Moorish cultures.

After a coffee and a roll, we started the day touring the Cathedral with an audio tour. Started in the 13th century, it is considered the pinnacle of Gothic style in Spain. Sharon and I both agree that the French and Italian churches seem more impressive. All of the major Spanish churchs that we have seen have enclosed choir seating in the middle of the church that changes the way the interior feels.

From there, we went to the Santo Tome Chapel. El Greco's The Burial of the Count of Orgaz is housed in this chapel. It is considered one of his greatest paintings.

We wandered up to the Alcazar de Toledo; it is the former royal residence that dominates the skyline. We then headed towards the Plaza de Zocodover. We wandered around and finally had lunch at the Restaurant Alcazar in a little street off the plaza. According to one of the guidelines, Toledo has Spain's most confusing medieval streetplan. In the course of a day and a half, we had some adventures finding our way around.

After lunch, we visited the Santa Cruz Museum. The high point of this museum was 16 El Greco paintings, including a series of Christ and the apostles.

Sharon took off to do some shopping, while Jack and I had a shady spot in a restaurant on the plaza to have a cold drink. Sharon and Jack also bought a nice chess set; he has been beating me consistently on this trip. Eventually heading back to the hotel, I bought a bottle of wine. Our hotel room has a balcony with a nice view that is bigger than some of the hotel rooms that I have stayed. Sharon and I sat and read our books on the balcony and had a glass of wine.

Sharon did some more Christmas shopping on the way to dinner. We finished the day with a nice late dinner at El Cason de Los Lopez de Toledo. Keeping up a tradition, it was after midnight before we turned out the lights...

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