Alive in Spain

A travel diary

Archive for the tag “Cervantes”

Highlights — Toledo

On my last day here, I decided to post pictures of what to me were some of my favorite things about Toledo.

I’m starting with a picture of something that is not in Toledo, but I found it captivating (and hope you will too). I thought I could get away with posting it here.

The Back Window of the Tropical Gardens at the Madrid Train Station.

The Back Window of the Tropical Gardens at the Madrid Train Station.

The picture is a little dark, but it was the only way to capture the beauty of the ironwork.

I came to Spain hoping to better understand my heritage (both sides of my family have Spanish lineage). My first impression of Toledo was that it was like no place I had ever known. But as I walked around, I came to see how much of Spain may be found in Latin America, and how much of Latin America the Spaniards had brought back.

Plaza Zocodover is at the center of Toledo. Though I’ve read that it’s a gathering place for locals and tourists, most of the people I saw seemed to be tourists, except on Saturday, when all of the Toledanos seemed to be enjoying the city and its many bars, restaurants, and cafés. On one side of the plaza is a large building that made me think of the buildings one finds in Colombia.

Building at Plaza Zocodover

Building at Plaza Zocodover

Off the plaza is a street named after Cervantes. A statue of the author stands at one end overlooking the street named in his honor.

Statue of Cervantes at the Top of Calle de Miguel de Cervantes.

Statue of Cervantes at the Top of Calle de Miguel de Cervantes.

All over the city are statues of his most famous creation: Don Quijote. This is one of my favorites. I love his expression.

Don Quijote and I.

Don Quijote and I.

As I said in my prior post, I didn’t do too many of the touristy sights, though I probably took pictures of most of them. The main cathedral is perhaps the most visited. Although I didn’t go in, I passed it several times each day from all different angles.

Santa María de Toledo Cathedral

Santa María de Toledo Cathedral

The two major to-do’s on my list, other than buying marzipan and tasting local food, were visiting the El Greco Museum and the Sinagoga del Transito.

Exterior of Museo El Greco

Exterior of Museo El Greco

Below is El Greco’s painting of St. James (Santiago). According to tradition, after Jesus’s death, St. James made his way to Spain to preach the gospel. He then returned to Jerusalem, where he was ultimately beheaded. After his death, his remains were brought back to Galicia to be buried. They now rest in a lovely old cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, a town named after the saint.

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This is La Sinagoga del Transito. I love that it is a synagogue built by muslims for Jewish worship.

Main worship hall of the Sinagoga del Transito.

Main worship hall of the Sinagoga del Transito.

When the Jewish people were ousted, it was turned into a Catholic church. Then, when the altar was removed and the building turned into a Jewish museum, to everyone’s surprise, a section of the original floor remained where the altar had been. It’s as if the Jews knew they would be coming back.

Segment of Original Synagogue Floor.

Segment of Original Synagogue Floor.

Finally, I thought I would post some pictures of doors around the city. I am fascinated by old windows and doors. I wonder about their past, the people who have walked through them and those who now walk through them. I’m also always curious and like to imagine what life is and was like behind those doors. So much history!

There are tiny entrances – about 5ft high – in many buildings all over the city.

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Toledo is a very clean city. I’ve been impressed with the care given to it.  This is one of the few instances of graffiti I found.

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One final and important door: The back door of the El Greco Museum.

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