jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 26 [24 Feb 09] – Madrid

Posted in Madrid by jn82 on February 24, 2009

Well actually the day was not really spent in Madrid, but in a city 30 minutes away (70km) by train called Toledo. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986 for its extensive cultural and monumental heritage as one of the former capitals of the Spanish Empire and place of coexistence of Christian, Jewish and Moorish cultures.

The 9.20am Renfe Avant 8292, our ride to Toledo.

View of the old city on the bridge from the train station into Toledo city.

The really stupid thing about this city is that there is no tourist information centre at the train station or anywhere nearby at all. Considering this is a very popular day trip from Madrid, this is pretty surprising. After spending a good one hour walking into the city and asking at various hotels for the location of the tourist information centre, we got the map of the old city and the sights to visit.

We walked past a few of the less interesting tourist sights and did not go in. The first big attraction of the day was the Catedral de Toledo, the main attraction of the city. It is said to be one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Spain. It sits on top of the hill and is deceptively large. Wikitravel description: “When you enter you will be confronted by sparkling gold reliefs, huge oil paintings and portraits of all of the Toledo Cardinals going back at least 500 years. The baroque Transparente, behind the main altar, is like nothing you have ever seen. The Cathedral also has a great art gallery with works by Raphael, Rubens, Goya, Titian, and one of El Greco’s major works, The Disrobing of Christ“. Entry fee was pretty expensive €7, but there was a lot of nice art pieces and internal architecture of the cathedral to be appreciated.

Exterior shots of the cathedral.

After lunc, we walked around a few other sights but did not bother going in. The next place we went into was for only a short while, into Iglesia de Santo Tomé, just to see El entierro del Conde de Orgaz (The Burial of the Count of Orgaz) by El Greco, considered to be one of his finest works.

The next and final place we headed to was Iglesia de Los Jesuitas, set in the highest point in the city, which was built by the Society of Jesus in Toledo following a model of the Jesuit Gesu Church in Rome and the Spanish churches of Palencia and Alcala. The main reason for visiting the church though was to access its towers which provided a panoramic view of the city. In actual fact the view was only good and clear in one direction, but it was still pretty good.

Inside Iglesia de Los Jesuitas.

View from the towers. Clearly visible are Alcázar (which was closed for restoration) and the Catedral de Toledo.

After this, we caught the 5.30pm train back from Toledo to Madrid. Catching the 8.30am train from Madrid to Zaragoza tomorrow morning.

Full gallery of today’s pictures is available here.


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