I woke up early, had lots for breakfast and walked to the Sol Railway Station to catch the train to Toledo. It was quite a challenge to buy the train tickets to Toledo as everything at the train station was in Spanish. After enquiring at multiple counters, I bought the high-speed rail round-trip tickets to Toledo. From Madrid to Toledo via high-speed rail, the travel time is only thirty-three minutes.

Brief History of Toledo

Toledo is a municipality located in central Spain, 70 km south of Madrid, the capital of the province of Toledo and the autonomous community of Castile–La Mancha. Toledo, an ancient city, has its origin in Toletum, the name the Romans gave to this settlement on the banks of the River Tagus after its conquest in 190 BC.

IMG_4034

The city maintained its importance for centuries and, in the Visigothic era, became the capital of Hispania (6th C). The arrival of the Arabs in the 8th century, together with the presence of Christians and Jews, made Toledo the “City of the Three Cultures”. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage and historical co-existence of Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures.

Behind its walls, Toledo preserves an artistic and cultural legacy in the form of churches, palaces, fortresses, mosques and synagogues. Toledo is also known as the “Imperial City” for having been the main venue of the court of Charles I. In 1085, the city fell to Alfonso VI of Castile as the first major city in the Christian Reconquista.

Two-Hour Toledo Tour

IMG_4023
Toledo Train Station

Upon arrival, I walked to the Visitors’ Centre to ask for help and direction. They offer a two-hour tour package that included a tour guide, entrance tickets to a few places of interest and a coach ride to the highest point of Toledo for a panoramic view of the city at a reasonable price. I paid for the package and got up the coach.

On the coach, two Chinese ladies sat next to me and I found them looking familiar. I may have met them at the hotel lift lobby the evening before. We spoke and confirmed that we were staying in the same hotel. They are from Shanghai and were their first time to Spain. Their first stop was Madrid and heading to Barcelona the day after. I shared my experiences in Barcelona and the must go and do. The ladies asked if I had any bad experiences in Spain as they were almost being pick-pocketed a couple of times. I was really blessed as I did not have such bad experiences. Guess the bags I used and the way I carried my bags made me a difficult target. It is always nice to meet and chat with visitors from Asia.

Our first stop was to the highest point of Toledo for a panoramic view of the city. We were there for barely five minutes and were hurried back to the coach for the next stop.

IMG_4024

The next stop was to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento – Town Hall Square, to meet the tour guide who briefed us about the history of Toledo and the significance of some of the historical buildings and churches.

IMG_4025

From The Town Hall Square, the tour guide led us to the Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo (Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo), a Roman Catholic cathedral, one of the most outstanding buildings in the city. The Cathedral with a basilica floor plan and five naves was constructed in 1226 but was only finished in the 15th century.

IMG_4035

The Cathedral was modelled after the Bourges Cathedral, although its five naves plan is a consequence of the intention to cover all of the sacred space of the former city mosque and the former courtyard. The main façade faces an irregular square containing the town hall and the Archbishop’s Palace. It is topped by the two towers, one of them in flamboyant Gothic style and the other in Gothic-Renaissance.

IMG_4036

The main façade has three portals – Puerta del Perdón (Portal of Forgiveness, centre), Puerta del Juicio Final (Portal of the Last Judgment, right) and Puerta del Infierno (Portal of Hell, left). The Portal of Forgiveness belongs to the 15th century—it was begun under the direction of Alvar Matinez in 1418.  It is so called because indulgences were granted to penitents who entered through it.

These days it is closed and used only on special occasions and upon the investiture of new archbishops of the primate cathedral. The Portal of the Last Judgement is the oldest of the three and represents the Last Judgment. The Portal of Hell, in contrast, does not contain figurative motifs, only floral decoration. It is also known as the Portal of the Tower or of the Palms as it used to be reserved as an entrance for the procession of the palms on Palm Sunday.

Following are some photos of the Cathedral.

IMG_4037IMG_4013IMG_4014IMG_4015IMG_4016IMG_4017IMG_4018IMG_4019

When we were done with the tour, I grabbed some food and made my way up to the highest point in Toledo again but this time on foot. It was a very scenic walk. Though I could not imagine doing it again as it was truly an uphill walk. Following pictures were taken on the way up to the top.

IMG_4020IMG_4026IMG_4027IMG_4028IMG_4030

After walking up the slope for about two hours, I reached the top to enjoy the panoramic view of Toledo. What a breathtaking view.

IMG_4038IMG_4031IMG_4039IMG_4032IMG_4033

After taking lots of photos and also rested my feet. I took a slow walk down. On my way to the train station, I saw people on Zipline. Looked super fun and exciting. And not forgetting, an amazing backdrop.

IMG_4021IMG_4022

Glad I booked the 6:20 pm train that I have more time to explore and walked up to the highest point to enjoy the panoramic view for a second time before heading back to Madrid.

After my visit to Toledo, I understood why my colleagues highly recommended that I should visit Toledo instead of spending the day exploring Madrid. Glad I took their advice.

Good Bye Toledo, till we meet again…

This trip was in November 2015.

Thank you for stopping by and Happy Living for Experiences!

Enjoyed what you read?  Support me by sharing and following my blog, Facebook and Instagram.

Advertisements

10 Replies to “An Autumn Day in Toledo”

  1. When I went to Spain a few years ago, it was a toss between Toledo and Segovia for a day trip. We opted for Segovia in the end as the Aqueduct looked amzaing (it was!). Though have to say, your Toledo photos are stunning as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Spain is beautiful Audrey. I haven’t finished my chance to visiting Spain. there is more for me to visit there. the last I visited the Basque Country, beautiful place and I fell in love with the traditional houses, it is amazing and pretty. My tour will continue the next time I will be there again. I wish you happy holiday in Spain! Make the best of it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: