I have (err, had) a visitor!

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to welcome my friend, Susan, and her parents in late August.  It was a nice reprieve from the quiet days in Madrid (practically the entire city vacates during the hottest month of August).  We toured around Madrid (to several sights that I have not had time to visit!) and we made a day trip to Toledo before my classes resumed.

Toledo is one of my favorite cities (this was the 3rd or 4th time I have been!).  It has a lot of rich history.  It is called La ciudad de tres culturas or La ciudad de tolerancia (City of Three Cultures or City of Tolerance).  I’m sure most of you can imagine why I like it so much.  🙂  It is called City of Three Cultures because it was the home to three different cultures that lived harmoniously together: Muslim, Jewish and Christian people.  They co-existed in a time where that was unusual which absolutely fascinates me.  To this day, many of the synagogues and cathedrals remain.  Although there is Muslim influence everywhere, the mosque is somewhat dilapidated unfortunately.  It was also once the capital of Spain when King Charles I was in reign, before the capital was moved to Valladolid and then later, Madrid.  Other famous things and people from Toledo include: marzipan, El Greco, damscene, and armor.  Even today they continue to make all of the armor that you see in the big-name movies.  The armor is so heavy that I could not even pick up a single helmet!  And in 2012, it was declared a UNESCO heritage site, but not just any site.  It is the first time an ENTIRE city was declared a UNESCO heritage site.  Most times, it is one area or one structure of a city.  Almost all of Toledo is surrounded by a wall, and where there isn’t a wall there’s the river.

If you are considering a visit to Toledo some day, I would highly suggest getting the “tourist” taxi from the train station.  They will drive you around the entire city so that you can get views from afar, and then they’ll drive you into the city so that you can begin exploring all of the buildings.  Our taxi driver was great!  Not only did he stop at some pretty nice places to take photos, but he was able to tell us about the history of Toledo and point out some of the most famous buildings.

I leave you with our awesome photos.  🙂

Madrid.

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Toledo.

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