If I could use one word to describe my trip to Toledo, it would be serendipitous. Over Thursday night tapas, some friends and I decided that we might as well cross this Spanish bucket list item off early. So the next morning, we woke up early and made our way to the train station with not a single plan for what we’d do when we got there. And yet, I would say that the trip was very successful.
We managed to figure out what to do and how to buy mid-distance train tickets, and in a timely fashion for that matter. We got to Toledo by around 11:00 am. The map on the wall of the beautifully antique train station made Toledo looked huge, and I think we were all a little intimidated. Nevertheless, we spent two euros on a map and headed off in the direction of the rest of the city. Walking relatively aimlessly, we encountered escalators up the countryside, the street dedicated to Toledo, OH (woot woot!!), and a free entrance to the Cathedral. The free entrance to the Cathedral may or may not have been for people going to pray, but we accidentally took full advantage. On our way out of the Cathedral, we ran into a teacher who was also a craftsman. He directed us to the Convent of St. Isabel, where you can enter the workshop of local craftsmen who hand make gold-embellished jewelry and other things. Their creations are sold on-sight amongst other souvenirs. None of us bought anything (we were high key ballin’ on a budget) but admiring the pieces was a very memorable moment from the trip.
Later we wandered over to the El Greco Museum, which was especially exciting for me after having studied El Greco both in high school and college. The museum was very interesting, and we were admitted for free with our student IDs!! It was laid out as a sort of replica of what El Greco’s house would have been like in Toledo, and displayed some of his work as well as some of the work he inspired. I was tickled because the whole day was cloudy and sprinkly-rainy and based on the way that El Greco portrayed Toledo, it couldn’t have been more appropriate. I would have used dark colors and elongated strokes too, dude.
Other highlights of the day included exploring the “Jardines del Transito,” eating churros and chocolate, and seeing other sights such as the Puerta del Sol, Mosque of Cristo de la Luz, Acazar Museum, and Plaza de la Virgen. I feel like I saw enough churches that day for a lifetime, and we also got a chance to check out the Cervantes exhibit at the Museum of Santa Cruz. Fun fact: the exhibit said that Cervantes was probably born in Alcala de Henares. We certainly crossed that word out didn’t we?!
Needless to say, the city was a lot smaller than it seemed. Although we certainly got our steps in, we were nowhere close to needing to take public transportation. Even if we had needed it, most of the fun of this trip was wandering down narrow streets and finding new angles to view the spectacular city and river. I swore that I took the same picture 80 times, but each brought a different perspective on the architecture and landscape that make Toledo the magical city that it is. Now that, the magic of Toledo, was not serendipity. That was definitely intentional.