Toledo with the Monsignor

Toledo with the Monsignor

Toledo, Spain – September 11, 2010

The Monsignor, Tyler, and I went to Toledo today. Like all of my other trips to Toledo, we parked in the parking garage right by the Alcázar. Again, just like always, we went to our favorite coffee café, El Faro de Toledo. It is right on Plaza de Zocodover. Since we had arrived at 09:30, we sat at the cafe and had coffee while we were waiting for everything to open.

Tyler and Monsignor Henry near the Alcázar in Toledo.
Tyler at the entrance to a very small parking garage.
The Spanish flag flying over the Alcázar.
Waiting for coffee and pastries before exploring the city.

The first place we went to was the Museo de Santa Cruz. I told the Monsignor I wanted to take him there to see some paintings by el Greco. We went in only to find out the el Greco’s were no longer on display. I was very disappointed. There were still some nice things to see, but I missed the el Greco’s.

Decorative tile at the Santa Cruz Museum in Toledo.
In this tilework, Joseph is at the left-center and Mary is at the right-center.
Detail of another tilework.
Two paintings in the museum.

We left the museum and stopped by the tourist information center to pick up some maps. Then we walked down to the Puerta del Sol which dates from the 14th Century. There, Tyler and I sat on a small wall while the Monsignor took some photos. When he came back he said there were some stairs in the tower. We went back and went up the stairs. They took us up to the top of the tower at the Puerta del Sol. It was a nice view from up there. There were around 50 stairs. There should have been more like 100. The rise of each stair was about twice what it should have been.

The twin towers above the Puerta de Bisagra. It dates from the 10th century.

From there we walked to the ancient Roman baths known as Amador de los Ríos. These are old baths that date back to about the 1st Century A.D.

We then walked to the Iglesia de las Jesuistas (also known as the Iglesia de San Ildefonso). We walked up the stairs to the bell tower, 135 steps (for those keeping track, that is somewhere in the neighborhood of a total of 235 stairs for the day).

The view from the bell tower is quite amazing. When we came down, we walked to the Primate Cathedral. That refers to the main Cathedral of Toledo. This is by far the most amazing cathedral I have ever seen. Construction on the cathedral began in 1226 and finished in 1493. Words cannot do it justice.

The sculpture above the choir in the Cathedral of Toledo.
Carving detail in the choir.
A music stand in the choir.
One of two organs in the cathedral.

One of the areas we toured was the sacristy. Much to our surprise, there were numerous paintings in there by el Greco. It was really amazing to see them all. Some of the vestments in the Sacristy dated from the late 1400s. It was hard to see all there was in the cathedral. There were nearly 30 side-chapels in the cathedral. They were of various sizes. I think one would have to go there several times to really be able to see it all.

I think the area of the cathedral that impacted me the most was the sacristy. It is a collection of five fairly large rooms. One initially enters a sacristy anteroom. From there, one enters the actual sacristy. This is the room that is just full of paintings by el Greco. It was just amazing. There was a smaller (although it was still quite large) room off of one side of the main sacristy room. The Monsignor thought that was probably the room used by the Bishop to vest prior to mass.

Off of one end of the “Bishop’s” room was a smaller room in which were displayed items such as miters and crosiers. Off the side of that room, there were various vestments on display. As I noted earlier, some of these dated to the 1400s.

From the Cathedral we walked to a sidewalk café for lunch. I had some delicious cream of asparagus soup.

After lunch, we bought tickets for the sightseeing “train”. It is a little tractor that pulls a couple of trailers. It takes tourists around the edge of the old town of Toledo. After that, we bought some pocket knives made with the famous Toledo steel, and walked back to the car. We arrived back home at about 16:40.

Tyler and Monsignor Henry ready for the “train” tour of Toledo.
Toledo as seen from the Miradore del Valle (Valley Overlook) on the southern edge of the city.
A panorama of the city.
Another view of the city and the Río Tagus.

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