One thing that stands out about Toledo is that it is on a hill. This is important for someone like me who almost has a heart attack running up a flight of stairs. There is an answer though, when you arrive at Toledo station, jump on the tour bus. This takes you right into the centre of town, but shows you some pretty sexy stuff from afar on the way. You can then work your way around, still with incline I’m afraid and see all of the gorgeous buildings and architecture in their full glory up close and personal.
Toledo is just over half an hour from Madrid so you can enjoy it as a day trip. The first thing to know is that it is was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 which speaks to its extensive cultural and monumental heritage. It has a rich history of embracing many religions such as Muslim, Christian and Jewish cultures. This is very much evident in the buildings and some of the markings on the streets. What Toledo also has to offer are swords. It is has been a traditional sword-making steel-working centre since 500 BC. Unfortunately the shops selling these intricate ‘artefacts’ are not something you can buy, plop in your case and bring home. They are essentially weapons and some of which I had seen would not be out of place on the set of Game of Thrones. You will have to settle for a fridge magnet I’m afraid.
Places of interest include the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, built by Catholic Monarchs, then there is a Synagogue of El Transito restored from the 1300’s famous for its rich stucco decoration, simply gorgeous. Toledo Cathedral, a 15th century church, Toledo Cathedral – yes churches are a thing. Spain is passionately religious, or at least generations before were. In the highest part of Toledo (after overcoming your palpitations), there is Alcazar of Toledo (not to be confused with the Swedish disco group) is best described as a stone fortification which now houses a military museum. Whilst we did not venture that far, there are some great observation points from which you can see it in all its glory. There is also the Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, which hasn’t changed much since its erection in the Moorish period.
Basically cultures collide in this little city. Architecture has you staring, mouth open, embracing its beauty. Then there is also the major work out walking up hill through cobbled streets. Good work out for the bum and legs. Combine exercise with culture here in Toledo.
One really weird thing to mention is that in a main square where took a moment to chill, a young guy stood there on his mobile. Not strange you may say, except for the fact that he was in the middle with kids and tourists surrounding him and he literally rubbed his crotch whilst looking at my and Lydia (my Spanish guide). It was seedy and scary. I would have loved to have one of those swords to chop it off if he even proceeded to come near us. After some pretty dirty looks from me which meant business, he decided to move on with his nastiness. Not a great closing moment for our trip, but I guess it’s a case of being alert to the fact that there are weirdos everywhere. Be careful and aware of your surroundings at all times. P.S. The station is pretty gorgeous too.