Still in Madrid… and Toledo tour

The Madrid Cathedral
The Jewish Synagogue

The Jewish Synagogue

A view from a cloister

September 11, 2010

Still in Madrid!

I enjoyed my “tourist” day trip to Toledo yesterday.   Toledo is the “seat” of Spain as far as the Catholic church is concerned.  The highlight of the day was the visit to the Cathedral… really BIG, really impressive and really “RICH”!  LOTS of gold and silver!  It also housed a bunch of artwork including a number of El Greco’s.  And there was a large display of Cardinal’s robes… lavishly decorated.  But the Cathedral itself was HUGE!  And as I say… richly appointed.  I’ve seen a LOT of churches in my day… I don’t think I’ve been more impressed!  I’m sorry I don’t have pictures to upload of the interior, but photos weren’t allowed.  I’ve got some of the outside… but it is so surrounded by other buildings it was hard to get a good “shot” of it.  There also was the usual assortment of museums, monasteries and gift shops to visit. 

The Jewish Synagogue in Toledo was very interesting.  For several hundred years… while the Muslims were in power in Toledo; Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed in the city of Toledo on a level that can only be imagined today.  The Christians took over in the early 1000’s and things were never the same again.  The Jews were forcibly expelled or “converted” to Christianity in the year 1492 (yes… it had to do with Fernande and Isabella of ‘Columbus’ fame)… the Muslims were expelled a few decades later.  The Synagogue was built for Jews by Muslim craftsmen and has a decidedly “Arabic” feel.  Of course, today it is owned by the Catholic Church… who seized control when the Jews were expelled. 

I had opted to have lunch included… and that was pretty bad (for the price) but the view was nice.  I’m glad I took the tour.  It was much easier than trying to get it all done on my own.   And I met a nice guy from Las Vegas on the tour… Mel.  We ate dinner on the Plaza Mayor and have plans to go to the flea market together Sunday.  Interesting guy.

So… I’ve also been doing a few tours and museums in Madrid the past few days.  The Prado is a huge museum (my aching feet!) with lots of masterpieces.  Too many to try to see even just the “highlights” in a day!  I think the one I was most interested in seeing was the “Garden of Earthly Delights” by Bosch.  It has some disturbing images in it.  I’ve seen it in books, but it is always nice to see them “in person”.  I can’t remember all the others I sought out… there was one by Caravaggio I remember… Who else?  Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez… The Three Graces by Rubens…a bunch by El Greco.  There are SO many great ones at the Prado it’s hard to remember them all.  I DO wish I had more time to study art history… but there aren’t enough hours in my “normal” days as it is!  Perhaps in another lifetime!

Tonight is Noche Blanco… “White Night” in Madrid.  It is rather like a New Years’s Eve celebration… but for no apparent reason.  There’s special shows, music in the street and shops, bars and even Museums stay open WAY past their normal REALLY late hours. Lots of fun!  I won’t be staying out very late OR mingling with large crowds, but I will at least see what is happening! 

As always… Life’s a TRIP!


See selected photos from my Madrid album at:

See selected photos from my Toledo album at: