Posts Tagged ‘Toledo’

My European tour, Part 18, Toledo, Spain

Hola ! Renxkyoko Iglesias aqui.

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I’m almost done with my Euro travelogue.  But I’m afraid after this, I won’t have anything to talk about anymore. In fact, even right now that I have a specific topic , my mind is still  blank. I feel it’s travel overload. I’ve been staring at the monitor for 2 days now, y’know.  Oh, but I think I had a lovely Valentine’s Day post, if I may say so myself.  I ;ve been rereading it, and everytime I do, I laugh. Hahaha * cough *.  It’s like I’m laughing at my own jokes.  Oh, Newsflash,  I actually had a date on Valentine’s Day.  Heh. I wasn’t really complete  zero, you know.  =_= ”

Oh, and one blogger got interested in my old  Valentine post, and her comment  made  me revisit   that one. .  Homigash !  It was a Valentine’s rant ! ! I’ll save you the time and just copy  here a part of that stupid post.  Ah. Sweet Ren ain’t so sweet , at all.

Here it is…..

I’m quite annoyed at the star rating feature here.  Why do we need to be rated anyway? I don’t really want that thing on my space.  On my previous blog, some reader rated my work as 1 star. I think that’s so rude. It’s like telling me my work is pure crap. Well, it is, but you , whoever you are, don’t have to rub it  in. WTF !  This isn’t a grammar test, nor a writing  one.  These are  my random thoughts , and  crappy or not,  this is my freakin’  blog and I can freakin’ write whatever I freakin’ feel like writing, so don’t freakin’ judge me.  I’m sure you’re no  freakin’ Pulitzer Prize winner either, whoever you are.

This is all for now.  Not in the mood to write anything else.  I have headache .

I  was such a sensitive fool.  I got a 1 star rating and went berserk.  Anger issues  much, methinks.

Oh, well.  Anyway, here’s Toledo, Spain.

Toledo is located in central Spain, and is the capital of the province of Toledo and   the autonomous region of Castille- La Mancha.

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Ah, La Mancha !  I’d like to believe everyone reading this has at least heard of  the play Man of La Mancha ?  This play was originally a manuscript of  author/soldier/actor/tax collector, named Miguel de Cervantes who had been imprisoned in Toledo for  heresy, ( together with his manservant)        ,    during the Spanish Inquisition . Well, no, not for heresy, but for foreclosing a monastery ! ! !  Ahahaha ! Anyway  the play is about a man who has read so many books about chivalry and injustice that he  loses his mind. Then, after renaming himself as Don Quixote de la Mancha, and  together with his manservant, Sancho Panza, he  embarks on a quest for his dream .  He is the ultimate symbol of a knight in shining armor.  One of the most memorable songs in the musical play,  is the song The Impossible Dream. To dream, the impossible dream…..To fight, the unbeatable foe. To bear , with unbearable sorrow….. la la la.  The lyrics are just so beautiful and meaningful.    I watched the movie version of this ( starring Peter O’Toole and Sophia Loren, in our  collection of musical  movies at home  ) and I think , this is one of the most touching and heartfelt  story that I’ve ever seen and read, a story that is simply magical and  makes one believe again  in the innate goodness of man  and nobility of the human mind.

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The man on the horse is Don Quixote with Sancho Panza, his manservant, the top middle statue is Miguel de Cervantes, the author, the two women statues on the left and right are just one character, as  Dulcinea, his  virgin dream maiden, the damsel in distress,  and as   Aldonza, actually a prostitute  in a rundown inn which, he, in his addled mind, sees as a castle.

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.Toledo was declared a World Heritage site. No new building can be constructed and all buildings are preserved.

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The one on the right is the Alcazar ( Arabic  for castle -palace ) and the one on the left is the Cathedral.

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.The center of Toledo has several  entrances. I don’t lknow what the name of this entrance is. Do you notice the Muslim influence on the design of the entrance? It’s kind of Arabesque, Moorish, or whatever they call that design.

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Toledo was the capital of the Spanish Empire before Madrid.  It was the place where Muslims, Jews and Catholics coexisted. during the Middle Ages., before the Jews and Muslims were expelled at the start of the 15th century.  Below is the oldest synagogue still standing, built in 1180., called  Santa Maria la Blanca, formerly  Ibn Shushan Synagogue.  This building is unique because it was constructed  under the Catholic  kingdom of Castille, by Islamic architects for Jewish use.

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.Interior of the synagogue.

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.The Cathedral.

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Cathedral’s interior

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You know what, the real thing is more jaw-dropping.

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.The city of Toledo is surrounded by walls.

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The photo above…. this kind of building with painted on faux windows, and doors are very common in Europe. I’ve seen this in Florence, too.

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.Not sure, but I think above photo is the oldest police station in Europe.

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.Random me.

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.The photo above….. just showing you how narrow the streets are.  It’s actually charming.

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.

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.One of the more notable citizens of Toledo  who lived or were born here was EL GRECO.  He was a Byzantine painter whose paintings had a modernistic feel to them .

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.We went to see his paintings and there’s an interesting story behind the above photo. Our tour guide was particularly effusive in his story telling. It’s a pity I’ve forgotten what it’s all about , ha ha.

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* ponders*

You know, the difference between a Protestant cross and a Catholic Cross is that the latter has an image in it and  Catholics call it Crucifix.  Speaking of which , I have a funny picture of a speeding Catholic driver.

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.Ha ha ha… I , myself, have a Rosary hanging in my car.

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It may seem boring, but , believe it or not, Toledo is one of the most beautiful places  I’ve visited in Europe.  Oh, by the way, Toledo used to be the the top sword maker in the whole of Europe since Roman times. They still make the stuff, but only ceremonial ones.. They now make handcrafted gold jewelries. We visited one such craft shop and bought several pairs of handmade gold earings and necklaces….they’re  beautiful with such intricate and delicate designs.

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This is all for now.

Burgos and Bilbao, Spain are next.

.With song in my heart, I say, hasta la vista… chau and Paz. La di da…..