Living in Western Canada, there aren’t many things that are really, really old. If a house is 100 years old then it is an anomaly. I guess that is why visiting historic cities appeals to me. While we loved Madrid, it is a modern city. You can see that it is quite historic but the modernity of it shines brightly. When we decided to take a day away from Madrid, Dewey asked his colleagues in Spain where we should go. The overwhelming response was that we should visit Toledo, Spain.
We boarded the train in Madrid for the 40 minute ride to Toledo. The train stations is not in the city centre so we decided to take a cab there. We oohed and ahhed the entire drive there. Toledo is a fortress town that has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. That is 2300–600 BC, people! We are talking OLD. Walking through the streets, I kept expecting a cart with wooden wheels filled with hay and pulled by an ox to come around the corner! Another claim to fame for Toledo is that it is the home town of the famous painter El Greco.
Since I was sporting a full on head cold, we did not see as much as we could have. There is a great Wiki you should check out about Toledo that lays out all the different sites you should see if you visit. Even though I was sick, we did power through and see a few sights.
First, we decided to go to the Toledo Cathedral. Over the years, I have visited MANY cathedrals in many different cities. I think this is the most impressive one I’ve ever been to. I definitely recommend doing the audio tour. It is very well done and hits the high points without being too long and drawn out. The architecture and art are breathtaking.
More than once, Dewey and I could be heard uttering “Wow!” For a building that was started in 1226 (or any time really) it is an amazing feat of architecture. Soaring to amazing heights and dripping with gold, you can tell that the builders were truly using this building as a way to praise God. The audio book takes you through each of the different areas within the church and describes the art you see along the way. Definitely a must see. Tickets are 11 Euro each.
Next we decided to take in three exhibitions taking place in Toledo. You could go see one for 5 Euro or do all three for 9 Euro. The three exhibitions were: The Inventions of Da Vinci, Instruments of Torture and The Knights Templar. All three were interesting though I found the one about the Knights Templar the least compelling.
All of the signs in that exhibition were in Spanish and the book with English translations was not in the same order as the signs so it was very hard to follow. It also went VERY in depth which wasn’t very interesting or enlightening. However, the other two were quite interesting though the Torture exhibition made me squirm.
And then last but not least, we went to eat at Adolfo for lunch. We were given the recommendation by Ishmael, our tour guide for our Tapas & Wine tour in Madrid. It is a bit off the beaten path but with the help of GPS we found it.
We were greeted by Veronica, the daughter of the owner and we had an amazing meal. Since we were having a hard time deciding what to order (and all the dishes were on the spendy side), we decided to do the tasting menu. That way we didn’t have to choose and we got a bit of everything.
It was a FANTASTIC decision. Our complete menu was: Oyster with tomato leaf, King beans with mineral water, Prawn carpaccio, pomegranate and passion fruit, Black rice with squid, Sea bass with vegetables, Suckling pig with pumpkin puree and Figs with toffee & ice cream for dessert. Delish!
After our amazing meal, Veronica let us go up to their private terrace on top of their building. We got a beautiful panoramic view of Toledo as you can see in the pic at the top of this post.
And her is a pic of us with Adolfo himself. Excuse the demon eyes. I can’t figure out how to fix them. Thank you to Veronica from Adolfo for sharing this picture with us!
Overall we had a fantastic day and I am very glad we decided to go. If we get to visit again, I would love to stay overnight to get to do even more exploring.
Toledo is definitely the oldest place I’ve ever visited. What is the oldest place YOU have visited?