26 May 2009


It was inevitable that eventually I would spend a day in Toledo, because every visitor to Madrid does. Eventually the monotony of the Madrid lifestyle and cityscape gets oppresive and it's nice to try something a little different. Particularly since it was raining in Madrid all weekend.

Toledo was once a major city of the Spanish empire, famous for its steel production. But when the national capital was established in Madrid, Toledo, which is only forty kilometres away, became a little redundant and stopped developing. Consequently, the medieval style Moorish influenced city remains just as it was the day it became governmentally irrelevant.

Just as it was, that is, apart from the myriad of tourist shops selling Toledonian steel fencing rapiers, samurai swords (?) letter openers and figurines of Don Quixote. Some of the medieval themed chess sets looked amazing, but would have been a bit difficult to carry back to Australia in a back pack.

If you can see past the kitsch souvenir shops and around the noisy groups of American tourists, the city itself is still really nice. It’s propped on top of a hill, surrounded by stone walls which are still intact. Inside the walls is a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets, dotted with bars, souvenir shops, historical plazas and the occasional McDonalds.

The Toledo cathedral is a really impressive building viewed from the outside. Supposedly it’s magnificent when viewed from the inside (I checked out some post cards which suggest this is probably true) but it cost seven euros just to get in the door, so we kept on moving.

Taken altogether, Toledo was a nice place to spend a day, but there wouldn’t be much to do there for any longer than that. It was a nice change to get out of Madrid, and I would look pretty stupid if I went home having spent six months in Madrid and never visited Toledo.

Far from home

Garry with 2 Rs
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