Chirag's Summer 2005 World Trip travel blog


Cathedral, Toledo

Medieval Toledo


Toledo, Spain

I arrived at Madrid in the morning. I wanted to catch a train going to Pampalona in the evening. So I had pretty much the whole day. I decided to go to nearby medieval town Toledo. Once again, I fixed my breakfast on the train station. I did some exercises in a corner of the station, ate my sandwiches with a box of juice, checked in my backpack in the cloak room and I was on my way to Toledo.

A jumble of narrow, winding streets, perched on a small hill above the Rio Tajo, Toledo is crammed with museums, churches, and other monumental reminders of its splendid and turbulent past. As I came out of the train station, the sun was already burning the sky above me. I was thirsty, but didn't want to buy the first water bottle I would see. I had to think about the depth of my pockets.

The bus that I took after crossing the bridge on Rio Tajo took me to the main town at the top of the hill. Once there, I decided to get lost in those medieval streets that curve left and right and go up and down. I visited the cathedral admiring the glorious stone architecture, stained-glass windows, tombs of kings and art by El Greco, Velazquez and Goya. Then I went to Iglesia de Santo Tome where El Greco's masterpiece El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz catches the eyes and the mind. This giant painting shows the Count of Orgaz's burial in 1322 by St Stephen and St Augustine, viewed by a heavenly entourage.

Further north is one of the city's obvious sights, San Juan de los Reyes, the Franciscan monastery and church founded by Fernando and Isabel. The late Flemish-Gothic style is chinzed with lavish Isabelline ornamentation and Mudejar decoration. Outside hang the chains of Christian prisoners freed after Granada's fall in 1492.

I took rest on a park bench and then walked down the hill to the train station to catch a train back to Madrid. That evening when I got on a train to Pampalona, I had no idea what wild adventure was waiting for me.

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