Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Spain Part 3: Toledo

This was one of the more touristy places we visited, but I'm glad we went.
It was another day trip while we were in Madrid.

Toledo was built in a time of war and is one of the most fortified cities in Spain.
It is also one of the most religious, as well as religiously tolerant.
Most of the time these things don't go together, especially in Spain, according to Claire.

I just think the city is pretty!

While we were there the city was setting up for a festival to celebrate the Virgin Mary.
(Like I said, a very religious city!)
There was this cool canvas path/roof thing with lanterns hanging from it.
We started following the path it made through the city's little streets and we ended up at the church.
Imagine that!

This is said church.
Like most churches in Spain in was huge and very beautiful.

This terrace is part of the most fascinating thing we saw in Toledo (maybe all of Spain).
There is an ancient mosque/church that we visited.
The whole sanctuary was about the size of a medium-sized bedroom.
The building had alternately been used as a mosque and a church throughout the years and now it stands as both together.
I don't have pictures of the inside so I'm sorry!

It is only a few steps uphill from the street (through the visitor's center) and into the building.
You step into the mosque first.
Three curved windows (in the Islamic style) indicate that this is a mosque.
There are four pillars that hold the structure, in between them one can picture ancient worshipers praying to Mecca.
Through an open doorway with openings on either side (making it more of a visual divider rather than actually wall) is the catholic church.
A worn portrit of Jesus is the only real difference between the two sides of the room.
Right below the painting is glass so that visitors can see the ruins of other mosques and churches that were built on this the same spot and then destroyed.

After marveling we exited to explore the garden.
The rose garden isn't very well kept, but the views from the terraces just beyond are breathtaking enough to make up for it.

Claire had to get a picture of the flags and banners that were over the street in celebration.
She said that decorations like these were very rare in Spain.

Then began our trek back over the river to the train station.

We made it, and took a moment to look back at where we had been.

Then it started to rain so we hustled to find the station.
It was fairly easy with the clock tower and extensive rose garden.

Then we all warmed up in the train station's cafe with café con leche (Mom and Claire), tea (me), and a beer (Nora).
All in all it was a great day in Spain!

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