Church of Santiago del Arrabal

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    • Day 232


      February 28, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

      We drive from Granja towards Toledo, passing through the outskirts of Madrid. When I see the Spanish capital from this perspective I realise how enormous it is . There are lots of skyscrapers, none of which we saw when we were there a few days ago.
      An hour later we see the city of Toledo, perched on hill overlooking the river Tagus, the same river Tagus flows out into the Atlantic from Lisbon. We park at the foot of the hill by the bus station and taxi the rest of the way to our accommodation in centre. The taxi beeps the pedestrians out of the way and speeds up and down narrow streets following a complicated one way system. I’m so glad I’m not driving.

      We climb the spiral stairs and take a moment to settle into the apartment. Though tired, we summon the last shard of energy and go back out to get a feel for the town. We join the crowds in the streets below and hear music and it is coming our way. We have accidentally arrived at the right place and at the right time because here comes a parade full of music, dancing, costumes and a big papier-mâché fish! We have happened on the ‘burial of the Sardine’ and this parade is it’s funeral procession complete with mourners dressed up in black. This tradition is celebrated in lots of towns and city’s in Spain and it usual marks the end of Carnival and the beginning of Lent. The crowds follow after the parade and everyone is here for a good time. Long after we have returned to the apartment we hear the singing, music and fire works.
      Toledo Cathedral is so close to our apartment we can see it from the bedroom window. This is our first stop the next morning. We don’t take the audioguides as they have far too many details for our appetite. We just google our way around. My favourite bite-sized piece of the history is about the fire that burned down the market next door to the Cathedral. In the late 14th century the Bishop wanted to build an extension for a cloister. He was in negotiations with the stall holders to buy the Market site but they were reluctant to sell. A mysterious fire broke out and the stalls were destroyed. The bishop bought the site for very little and built the cloister he had always dreamed of . Funnily enough from that day to this no order of monks have ever been in residence there.
      At our next church stop, I decide to double check that we are in the right place before we go in so at the entrance I ask if there are some of El Greco’s paintings inside. The ticket clerk laughs and scoffs and says ‘El Greco painting?!!, This is his masterpiece - ‘the burial of Count of Orgaz’. Once inside it is easy to find because there are so many people standing below it and staring up in admiration. We join them.
      Later my ignorance induces more scoffing at a sword shop. I ask the shop keeper a question that has been on my mind since we arrived in Toledo- ‘ Why are there so many sword shops here’. He looks up from his glasses and tells me that Toledo steel is world famous- well I never knew … I decide to dig some more and ask him how recently this is. ‘Roman times’ he says as he shakes his head. I quickly buy a pen knife with ‘Toledo’ printed on it, thank him and go.
      We continue on my uninformed tour of Toledo and by the end of the day we think we have visited San Martin’s bridge, the Alcazar and the Jewish quarter, but I can’t be sure.
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    • Day 2


      July 21, 2023 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

      Partiamo per Toledo di buon mattino, in modo da poter dedicare l'intera mattinata alla visita della città. In particolare, visitiamo l'Alcazar e la Cattedrale di Santa Maria di Toledo.

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    Church of Santiago del Arrabal

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