Archive for June 15, 2006

Toledo, Spain (Part 3)

Today we crossed the river to see a Medieval festival happening in one of the parks. We walked into the park and stepped back to the days of knights and soldiers. There were pavillions set up that were right out of a medieval market. Knights were eating meat over a barbecue and drinking from these great goblets. Some were explaining how their weapons were handled and what they were designed for.

Given the setting, it was quite fun. There were groups of merchants selling their wares and every one of them was dressed from days long gone (thankfully).

We returned to the main square and headed back to La Tabernita where we sampled some more foods from the area. Desiree made me a tinto de verano which I loved. She showed me how to make it and now I drink it at home, muy bien.

We started back towards our hotel and had to pass through the same square that the fashion show was held. Wonders never cease. This time there was a group of singers with a band. They were performing Disney songs and again, the performance started at 10:00 (must be magic hour) so we made sure to be there. Actually, we were back around midnight because we had such a good time at La Tabernica. Yes, we went back there for dinner and yes we had a lot of fun meeting the locals. One fellow, who was a newspaper photographer, was helping me with my spanish. He kept correcting my pronunciation and giving me hints about the proper wording. Another was a professor of french studies in Toledo. There was a couple, he was from Chile (actually, an american is disguise) and she was from Germany. They lived in Frankfurt and I had to keep the conversation away from english. I felt that this was a local place and a refuge from the throngs of tourists that visit Toledo. It was more polite to keep the conversation in Spanish (even though it was killing me). Anyhow, when we get back to the square, the show is going full tilt. Keep in mind that this is outside in a very old setting.

That was it. Only 2 days in Toledo but we had experienced so much it felt like a week. We headed off to the train station the next morning to catch our train back to Madrid.

We caught the metro to Avenida des America where we could catch the bus to the airport. It was VERY hot and in the metro station they had fans going full tilt. What was different was the mist of water that these fans blew out. I couldn’t take a picture because it was too dark but it certainly was an eerie scene. We got to the airport early, tried to change to an earlier flight but it was way too expensive. We explored the new terminal 4 …….

We got home around 9:00 and went for a walk ……………………..

June 15, 2006 at 6:31 pm 1 comment

Toledo, Spain (Part 2)

After visiting the cathedral we went looking for a place to get some food. That’s when we found La Tabernita, a small tavern-like place that the locals visited. We met the owners but you’ll have to read Alex’s log for that story. When we finished eating we started to walk downhill towards one of the city gates. Approaching the gate was like a maze. This was a military installation and the reason for the maze-like approach was to prevent enemy troops from attacking straight on.

It was evening by the time we started back and as we headed towards the hotel we came across workers setting up a stage and sound system in the square behind the cathedral. We found out that there was going to be a fashion show starting at 10:00. We came back to watch and it was amazing. I had never been to a real fashion show before and was impressed.

Show MCs

Apparently, the MCs were well know television personalities and it showed. The way they presented and anounced made me feel I was watching a movie. Once the models started coming, loud, high energy music filled the square.

This was clearly a high end fashion show we stumbled upon. I was sitting there, looking around, feeling the music and couldn’t help thinking that this was totally surreal. The cathedral tower was lit up and eye catching but took a second seat to what was happening in front of me.

In between model appearances was high end entertainment. A company of flamenco dancers had us completely captivated. I didn’t realize how sensuous flemenco dancing was, and so fluid. I had to pinch myself uite a few times that night.

The show ended well after midnight and we left in a bit of a daze. I could never put down in words what it was like. Sitting in a medieval square, surrounded by buildings from the 16th century and earlier and having this spectacular show of sound and light and movement was simply awesome. We walked back to our hotel with only the street lamps to light our way.

The next day we visited the old Jewish quarter. Alex’s studies are all about the coexistence of christians, muslims and jews so it was a must to visit the old synagogues, mosques and churches. You’ll have to read her blog to get more details. The mosques and synagogues were converted to churches when the original worshippers were forced out of Spain. Here’s a photo of a synagogue converted to a church. The roof beams in this building are over 800 yrs old.

We visited many places that day and saw many beautiful things. Here are some photos of building details in the many sites we saw. The first photo is the ceiling in a hall around the cloisters of a monastery. It’s all wood and the different patterns are created with inlaid wood. This ceiling is around 500 yrs old.

The next photo shows one of the supporting marble arches.

This next photo is of one of the many gargoyles that surround the cloisters. It was refurbished in 1888 and the detail is gorgeous. Every one of the 20 or so gargoyles was different.

I guess I’m going to have a part 3. There’s still a few stories to tell and this entry is getting big. Here’s some general photos that I think are interesting.

Some Toledo ironwork

Toledo Ironwork

View of the surrounding country from one of the old towers.

View of the cathedral from a narrow street (shot by Alex)

A couple of cousins ………

And finally, more Toledo ironwork …….

Until next time……………..

June 15, 2006 at 8:48 am Leave a comment

June 2006

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