Monday, October 15, 2012

Toledo Daytrip - Cathedrals, Art, and a Train Station

If you've had a chance to read up on our day trip to Segovia. you are already aware that we also decided to visit Toledo during our time in Madrid. If you weren't aware, sorry to have ruined the surprise.

We arrived in Toledo mid morning and were immediately impressed as our train pulled into the station. Our first real taste of Moorish inspired architecture, the station's brick facade is rivaled only by it's intricately tiled interior complete with original wood carved ticket windows and stained glass. 

Exterior with clock tower

Carved wood ticket counter and tile floors

Tiles walls, arched windows, and stained glass


Upon exiting the station we were met by the regular row of taxis and open-top tour buses offering transportation for 6-10 Euros. Although more affordable than most transportation offers we've encountered, being frugal and fit we chose to start walking and see where we ended up. The choice was a good one, as Toledo is only about 5 minutes be foot from the train station (albeit uphill), and the walk offers some great views of the city walls and the Tagus River. 

City walls and Alcazar

Bridged entryway

We spent a few hours exploring the narrow streets before stumbling onto the Cathedral, where a zumba group of about 250 people was part way through their workout routine in the main square. With techno blaring from the surprisingly large speakers, it was quite a sight to see tourists, old and young, joining in on the fun. All the commotion made entering the Cathedral a bit of an ordeal; however, once inside we found solitude, with only the faint rhythm of some Coldplay drifting through the main doors. 

The interior was impressive, an over-the-top gold alterpiece with multiple floor to ceiling organs as well as a second, ornately carved and painted Baroque alterpiece, all surrounded by richly decorated chapels. In addition to the stunning alters, the Cathedral features a small museum of original paintings, with multiple notable works by El Greco. 

Gilded Cathedral Alter

Exterior steeple

Smaller gated entry

Toledo had a lot to live up to after our jaw dropping visit to Segovia the day before, and perhaps our expectations were unfairly high as we felt a bit let down in the end. However, it's worth noting that Toledo also offers an Alcazar and many other churches to explore, we simply chose not to part with our hard earned Euros for a glimpse inside. Overall, both cities complimented each other well, but if we only had one day we'd head for Segovia. 


*A reminder, we post our full photo sets on Flickr, often thirty or more photos - accessible at the photo tab atop this page!

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Calli and Travis returned from a four month trip through Europe more excited than ever to hit the open road. Who knows where they'll end up next...

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