Monday, June 10, 2013

The Magic of Toledo:The Spain and Portugal Diaries, Part VIII

In the mid 1980's when Rick and I were in Spain, we took a day trip from Madrid to Toledo. It was frustrating to be in that beautiful town for only a short time and I longed to get back there. I especially wanted to see Toledo at night. That amazing painting by El Greco "The View from Toledo" had a hold on my imagination.

Toledo was not on the direct route back to Madrid and involved more driving than we liked to do on one day, but we decided to do it anyway as we might not have the opportunity to see Toledo again. I still very much liked Toledo but it was not as magical as I remembered. It seems whenever I fall in love with a place, it’s never as wonderful the second time around. Sometimes it’s a real disappointment as in my return trip to Santiago . (Tuscany is an exception to this. )

Anyway, we did get to see Toledo at night and we also visited the major synagogue, El Transito.

Toledo at night

There are two synagogues in the Old Town of Toledo and in 1986 we saw the 12c synagogue which had been converted into the Christian church, Santa Maria la Blanca. This time we visited El Transito and the adjoining Museo Sefardi with a collection illustrating the history and culture of the Sephardic Jews in Spain. If you have time for only one synagogue, El Transito is the one.

El Transiito courtyard of El Transito

As far as I’m concerned, there are three “must see’s” in Toledo, the synagogue, the gargantuan cathedral which has an astonishing collection of paintings and a small chapel, Iglesia de Santo Tome containing the Burial of Count Orgaz which we missed in 1986.

There are some paintings that a photograph can’t begin to capture and this is one of them. Although I’m not as in love with El Greco as I used to be decades go, there are still some of his paintings I could look at for hours. This is one of them.

I’m very happy we managed to visit Toledo once again and it was much more enjoyable in March without the crowds and intense heat of mid-summer.

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