Toledo with Hillary & Becca

Toledo with Hillary & Becca

Toledo, Spain – June 25, 2011

With the exception of Tyler, we all went to Toledo today. We had no idea the town was celebrating the Feast of Corpus Christi that day.  As soon as we got into town, it was quite evident.  We began to see banners hung from buildings as we walked along the west side of the Alcazar toward a coffee shop.  When we arrived we went to our favorite little coffee shop, el Faro de Toledo.  We had some coffee and some pastries.  It is a little café right on the corner of the main plaza, Plaza Zocodover. Hillary was a little cold so she wanted to sit inside. We did go in, but it was so hot! I was very happy to get back outside.

The Alcazar in Toledo, Spain.
A monument to the Alcazar.
Walking past a parking garage.
The Spanish flag flying over the Alcazar in a stiff breeze.  Note the festival banners on the buildings in the distance.
Another view of the flag.
Banners everywhere for the Feast of Corpus Christi.
A table tent at el Faro de Toledo.  The mojito prices vary depending on where one sits. At the bar, 6€ (US$7.32); at an inside table, 7.50€ (US$9.15); and at a table on the patio, 9€ (US$10.98).
The sunny sides of Plaza Zocodover.
Banners in place for the festival.

From the café, we walked toward the Museo de Santa Cruz. On the way, there is a statue of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote. We all took turns taking photos with the statue.  We continued on to the museum and sat on some benches.  We had to hang around and wait for the museum to open at 10:00.  Just a minute or two after it opened, we entered.

One thing that is probably lost on those who immediately go into the museum, bullet holes.  The museum, I think it was a hospital at the time, was a key location in Toledo during a battle of the Spanish Civil War.  Many parts of the south side of the museum are scarred from bullets.

Leslie on the arm of Miguel Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote.
Becca and Hillary with Sr. Cervantes.
…and yours truly…
The main entrance to the Santa Cruz Museum.
Even if they can get it back to the car, it will never fit in their luggage!
More banners for the festival.
Bullet holes in the side of the museum, remnants of the civil war.
The view west on Calle Miguel de Cervantes.
A couple more bullet holes.
The group waiting patiently for the museum to open.
Flags near the museum entrance; from left to right, City of Toledo, Spain, and the European Union.

The Santa Cruz Museum is an amazing museum for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, it is free! Secondly, it houses some amazing works by el Greco. He had lived and worked in Toledo. Once inside I immediately led the group upstairs to see those famous paintings. It is very cool to be able to enjoy those paintings with virtually no one else around. I took several photographs of them.  I hope they turn out well.  One of these times I want to go to the museum at the home of el Greco.

Detail of a set of stairs inside the museum.
One of many wooden carvings of Mary and Jesus on display in the museum.
Another of the carvings.
A view of the interior of the museum.  At the far end, one can see the Immaculate Conception by el Greco.
Detail of a painting of the Madonna and Child.
Detail of a bas relief.
Detail of a woman in one of the paintings.
Detail of The Holy Family, El Greco 1590.
The Immaculate Conception by El Greco, 1608-1613.
The Immaculate Conception Seen by St. John the Evangelist, by El Greco, 1580-1585.
Two of the floors of the museum.
A carved crucifix.
The Dolorosa (Our Lady of Sorrows).
Detail of The Tanners’ Workshop by Ricardo Arredondo y Calmache, 1897.
Another set of stairs in the museum.
The interior courtyard of the museum.

When we left the museum we began to walk toward the Cathedral. It took a while to get there because Leslie and the girls stopped in nearly every store along the way. Also along the way we encountered several street performers. They were funny and very talented. Probably the best was the man and woman trapeze artists. They were set up right in front of the Cathedral.

A worker cleaning Plaza Zocodover.
People milling about in the plaza.
Entertainers preparing in Plaza Zocodover.
The view west on Calle Comercio from Plaza Zocodover
A woman walking by a Toledo police car.
Some street performers on Calle Comercio.
People stopped to watch the performers pass.
Heading back down Calle Comercio.
A shoe store on Calle Comercio was able to lure the women inside.
A four-story mural down one of the sidestreets.
There were lots of lights in this shop!
This deli was well stocked with wine, cheese, olives, and jamon serrano.
Calle Arco de Palacio runs down along the west side of the cathedral.
Street performers on Calle Arco de Palacio.
It is hard to determine what was so “appealing” about the banana woman…
Flowers at the base of a large chalice on the west side of the cathedral.
A bedecked Cityhall is just across the plaza from the cathedral.
A street performer begins a routine on the west side of the cathedral.
She made it onto the bar.
She whistles for her friend to join her.
He has just a bit of difficulty getting to her level.
Nearly there…
Hillary working for the perfect shot of the performance.
The performance drew quite a crowd.

The Cathedral in Toledo is by far the most amazing Cathedral I have ever been in.  Since we were there during the festival of Corpus Christi, the huge monstrance was in place at the high altar for adoration. During the trip, I finally found the name of the “thing” I had seen on a previous trip with Monsignor Henry, the Manga de Terciopelo Rojo (red velvet sleeve). A priest told us in Spanish that it is used in the processions.  Now that I have the name I will have to look it up and research exactly how it is used.

When we came out of the Cathedral, we walked with a street vendor to a building where they make the traditional damascene objects.  We were able to watch them working.  We ultimately bought a couple of trinkets.

The view on Calle Ciudad toward the bell tower of the cathedral.
A damascene worker.
Damascening is very delicate metalwork.
Leslie holding some examples of the worker’s damascene product.

We left there, had lunch, went back to the car and drove home. It was very hot, so when we got home we all got into the swimming pool.  That was refreshing.

Timeout for some lunch.
A cat getting a drink of water.
The same cat trying to cool down after drinking the water.
A mannequin placed on a terrace for the festivities.
A dog waiting patiently for its owners to emerge from the store.

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