Thursday, 19 March 2009

Trip to Toledo

With our friend Ayesha we finally fulfilled our much put off ambition to visit the medieval capital of Castille, Toledo, just a short bus ride out of Madrid.Perched on a rock surrounded on three sides by the river Tago, the city has retained much of its medieval mozarbe and mudejar architecture, though, naturally, several monuments were wrapped in scaffolding when we visited. The imposing Alcazar, scene of a famous Civil War siege, dominates the skyline, while the Cathedral is stunning. We also enjoyed the new El Greco musuem which, quite apart from having some beautiful paintings, is wonderfully set in a sympathetically adapted former convent. Everywhere Castille's multicultural heritage was on display, not just in the tiny mosque and synagogue, but in the doorways and window arches, tiles and decorations. Slightly more bemusing were the random collections of swords and knives (an echo of Toledo's reputation for steel production) on sale in all the tourist shops. These ones in particular raised an eyebrow or two:

I mean just what would you use that for? Table Tennis?

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