The city of three cultures

Toledo is a small city about an hour’s drive outside of Madrid. It was formerly the capital of Spain until 1562 when Madrid was named the new capital (a fact I learnt on my very first day in Spain!). Toledo is also known as “the city of three cultures” after the historical coexistence of the Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities – a fun fact I learnt while watching a Spanish game show with my flatmates. You can learn interesting facts from the most random places!

I took the bus from the city centre with some friends to explore the city. After leaving the bus station, we made our way up nearly 5 escalators to the city centre situated on a hill.


The origins of Toledo date back to Roman occupation in the BCE. The picture above shows some the ruins which are still present just outside the walls of the city.

 

First views!

 

Navigating the streets

The Toledo Cathedral is a Gothic structure and so far on this trip, I think has been my favourite one. I’m always impressed by rich golds and silvers and colourful stained-glass windows.

 

 

I don’t remember the exact name of this room but its patterns on the walls were influenced by Turkey.

 

Much of the Cathedral has been restored but you can still see elements of the ruins


 

We started walking through the Jewish Quarter for lunch. Unfortunately, options for food are quite limited. Toledo is very popular amongst tourists so the prices at restaurants tend to be quite high for the value of food you receive. So the food wasn’t the best but the great company was more important! After lunch we continued walking through the Jewish Quarter and stopped at a museum which held some artefacts and traditional items used in the Jewish religion.

A Menorah – candleholders present at festivals, including Passover and Chanukah

 

Lots of inscriptions such as these appear on the walls and the ground. This particular one, I was told, is the Hebrew symbol for “life”

Not too far away was the zip line. Essentially, a zip line is a cable stretched between two points. You are harnessed to the cable and you can slide to the other side. That day, I learnt Toledo holds the longest urban zip line in Europe. So naturally:


A few minutes later…

 

A still from a video filmed!

Once you leave the platform it’s not scary at all. The harness was very secure so there was no way of falling into the water!

We made our way back to the bus station by walking along the wall and absorbing the panoramic views of the river.


Toledo is a fun place to see, since there is a lot of history and you can see everything by walking around within a day. We left just after sunset to catch the bus back to Madrid and ate Mexican for dinner!

 

Beautiful colours on the sunset that night
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