Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sentimental Sunday

I'm finally going to tell you about the last of the three day trips we took from Madrid this summer - to Toledo. Toledo is south of Madrid and it was noticeable warmer there. It reminded me a bit of the heat in Phoenix in late spring. Not unbearable, but definitely hotter than Madrid.

Toledo has a strong Moorish history and we saw lots of buildings with a Moorish influence. We even visited an ancient mosque! I had never seen this type of architecture before and it seemed very exotic to me. I was unaware of this Moorish style in Spain and was surprised and fascinated by it.

This is definitely a more modern building, but the windows are a good example of the Moorish style.

One of the things that Toledo is known for is its marzipan. We visited several marzipan bakeries and tried each of their samples. We simply had to stop at the convent of Santa Rita and buy marzipan from the nuns through a small window with a revolving tray. Quite an unusual experience for a group of Americans. I even carried a box of marzipan back to the states for Mrs. S. She didn't trust herself to resist the temptation if she kept it with her until her return.

This is not a nun from Santa Rita, but it's not everyday you pass a nun in the street.

We also stopped in the Church of Santo Tome to see the famous El Greco painting The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. It is an extremely large, intricate and moving painting. Once again, photos were not allowed, but I've copied a photo from the Internet here for you to see. El Greco (The Greek) arrived in Toledo from Greece in 1577 and made his home there. His home is still standing and he himself is buried in Toledo.

Detail from the painting.

Self-portrait of El Greco. Detail from the painting.

The highlight of our trip to Toledo was our visit to Toledo's Cathedral. I have never seen anything as grandiose, awesome and fabulous as this Cathedral. It was beyond description. Photos can not do it justice, but I have added one from the web so you can get an idea of its splendor. The most exciting part of the the Cathedral (aside from the incredible art and the dead monarchs - you know I love that stuff), was that we got to witness a Spanish wedding in one of the side chapels! It was so interesting. The guests were as elaborately dressed as the bride. And the bride's entrance and walk down the aisle was very casual. No musical accompaniment. No hushed atmosphere. No "Here Comes the Bride". So different from an American wedding. What a wonderful surprise to get to witness that.

This photo shows one of the entrances to the Cathedral. As you can see photos just can't do it justice.

Photo from the web.

One other thing about Toledo.... shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. Madeleine were in heaven (she is a super souvenir shopper). That is until Amy and I found a small shop in a side street where a woman was selling the most gorgeous hand made table and bed linens. She and her sister make them all by hand. She was working on a piece when we came into her shop. Amy and I spent a bit of time in there and Amy choose a lovely pillow cover to use in her house. As you can see the girls and Mr. S. were not too excited about hand made linens.

That ends our visit to Madrid and surrounding areas. But wait! Our trip to Spain was not yet over (you didn't think you were done looking at vacation photos, did you?). After we left Madrid we flew to The Canary Islands (off the southern coast of Spain and the western coast of Africa) and spent 5 days on Tenerife. I'll tell you all about it in my next Sentimental Sunday. I know you can't wait! LOL!


Andrea (ace1028) said...

Beautiful pictures. I know I've mentioned before, I've been to Spain, and Toledo was a day trip we did from Madrid. Not nearly enough time, but you've got me all sentimental this Sunday w. my own memories. Thanks for sharing!

Sandy said...

What a great trip! Hope someday to see it all in person.

Gibby said...

Oh man, I would love to go there! What a great experience.

Bethany said...

You could post pictures from your trip every day and I wouldn't be tired of looking at them! It's so pretty- a different style than I was expecting though, I agree with you!

Tammy Howard said...

So beautiful... I think it's fun that you're spreading this out! It must be nice to relive your journey all this time later...

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Turquoise Diaries has brought the windows in other countries to my attention. Amazed at what I have missed. The detail, the shape. Here you have mentioned it also.

Enjoyed the trip.

Gamma Sharon said...

Looks like you had a great vacation! Have I said that before... keep the pictures coming!

Phyl B. said...

Spain is so beautiful. I love the old buildings and so much history. I'm stopping in from SITS to wish you a good day and to continue writting. I will be following.


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