On the way to Granada, we had a one-day side trip to the Old City of Toledo, right south of Madrid. Toledo used to be the center of the Spanish Empire and a place where the Christians, Muslims, and Jews of Spain could mingle peacefully before the Jews were prosecuted and forced to convert to Christianity.
We took a panoramic bus tour of the city before crossing over the San Martín bridge, a medieval, bridge crossing the Tagus River, to enter into the Old City.
Sheep’s enjoying the view.
The old, nineteenth century Gothic Cathedral and the main cathedral of the city are gorgeous buildings, with a mixture of Gothic and baroque styling including small jokes left behind by the builders.
Though there are not even enough Jews in the city to have any official Jewish meet, or minyan, which requires at least 10 Jewish men, there are still remnants of the old Jewish culture from before the persecution sprinkled throughout the city. The Synagogue de el Transito is one of them, an old synagogue now hosting the Sephardic (a word designating a Jew whose ancestry is Spanish) Museum.
There are also a lot of swords. Everywhere. And some pretty interestingly themed ones.
In our explorations, a friend and I got lost and somehow found outside the city walls. In our search for a way to get back inside, we stumbled upon a set of epic elevators leading back up to the city from below. Later on, I discovered these escalators actually won many national and international awards for their design and functionality.
I really enjoyed wandering around Toledo and taking in the rich history, which is very well preserved in the Old City compared to many more modernized cities. But at the end of the day, I’m excited to finally be heading down to Granada and settling into what will be my home for the next three months!
Gourmet burger vending machine found while lost…hmm…