So, I know… I’m HORRIBLE at updating this thing. So, we’re going to play a bit of catch up again. After Kaitlyn came to visit us in autumn of 2013 (yes… I’m that far behind) we went for a short visit home, and actually spent Christmas in the Ring of Kerry again. However, since I already have a post about that, I’m not going to write about it again.
As many people who know us know that Toby is a tax accountant, so the beginning of the year is his busiest time. Unfortunately, his birthday is also at the beginning of the year. So, as a little quick birthday trip before he got too busy, we decided to go to Toledo, Spain.
This city is a really small medieval city located about a 43 miles outside of Madrid. It’s also a UNESCO world heritage site. This city is known as the Imperial City, and is one of the few places were Christianity, Muslim and Jewish culture all co-existed at the same time, in the same city, and without conflict. You could see the influences of this everywhere.
There were also amazing tapas restaurants EVERYWHERE.
The other nice thing about this city, is that it’s SO walkable! You can walk from side to side in 30 minutes. And to be honest, you can see the entire city in about 3 days.
They had some amazingly cool, old doors there. As I said, the whole city is medieval (this town has actually been around since at least 59 BC.
But anyway, onto the sites!
Cathedral of Toledo
The cathedral of Toledo is one of 3 which were built in the 13th Century. It is MASSIVE! It was really neat to see how various parts of the history seem to have influenced the design of the Cathedral. Warning, lots of photos below, but you’ll get a really good idea of just how different all the various parts of the Cathedral were.
Bridge of San Martin
One of the days that we were there, we went out to the bridge of San Martin around sunset time and captured some AMAZING photos.
There’s not a whole lot of history with this bridge other than that it was built in the 14th century. Plus it looks really cool 🙂
Museo De Santa Cruz
This building, which is now a museum, was originally a hospital. It has now been turned into a gallery for old artifacts, art, and rotating exhibits.
Overall, the museum was quite small but had some neat artifacts inside. Plus, it was across the street from a great tapas restaurant
El Transito Synagogue and Sephardic Museum
This synagogue was founded in 1356 by Samuel Halevi. After the expulsion of the city’s Jews under the Alhambra decree in 1492, it was converted into a church. It now forms part of the Sephardi Museum, exploring the Jewish culture of Mediaeval Toledo. This Synagogue was the private family synagogue of the King’s wealthy treasurer, Don Samuel HaLevi Abulafia. When he built it around year 1400, he defied all the laws about synagogues being smaller and lower than churches, and plain of decoration. The synagogue was also used as military headquarters during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1877 the building became a national monument. The transformation of the building into the Sephardi Museum, as it is now officially called, started around 1910.
Touring this museum, I really wish there had been more information in English. Like what happened to the building, or the jews, or after it was turned into a church, etc. They did have the information in Spanish, but unfortunately I do not speak Spanish. It was still a neat building to see nonetheless.
Iglesia de San Ildfonso
So this is another one of the many many churches in Toledo, but this one has an AMAZING view at the top that makes it a must visit spot.
I mean, the church DID have an inside too 🙂 – with relics (which I still don’t get the whole relics thing. Storing people’s bones for public display kind of freaks me out).
One thing that Toledo is known for is leather. There are leather shops EVERYWHERE. Toby and I did buy a really cool leather bag which we use ALL the time now when we travel for like 70 euros. However, be sure to ask what type of leather the item you’re buying is. I bought a cute leather purse, but found out after I got home that it was camel leather. And as a heads up, camel leather STINKS and there is NOTHING you can do to get rid of the smell. At first I thought it just smelled bad because it was in a big bag of other freshly made leather items. Nope, that is NOT the case. So just keep a heads up.
However – overall this is a great little town for a weekend trip. There’s some great history and sights, and the food and wine is super cheap! Most of the sights are churches, there were few museums here. So we would go see a sight in the morning, then walk around town, watch the locals and get some food. It’s a great city for just roaming and immersing yourself with everyone else who’s there.