Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Toledo, Spain

On our third day in Spain, we took the train to Toledo, Spain - a 30-minute ride from Madrid.  Since we did not have a lot of time to go around the city we took the double-deck Tour Bus to the city where we got a panoramic view of the city.  The city is old, as evidenced by the narrow alleys which, along with monochromatic beige to tan-colored buildings, characterize the city.

As we approached the center of the city from the train station, I saw a giant billboard that said "Toledo: Capital Espanola de la Gastronomia".  The Gastronomic capital of Spain! It was indeed easy to find something to eat from any point.  We entered a store that specialized on Marzipan where I bought  one block of the almond goodness.  For lunch I got chorizo empanada while everyone else had Spanish sandwich with ham and cheese.

We spent most of our time in and around the Cathedral of Saint Mary.  It is the most significant landmark of the city. It is definitely the most beautiful and largest cathedral I've ever set foot in. It is an old Gothic building - built long before my native land was discovered by Ferdinand Magellan.  It is definitely a tourist attraction.  And to think that when my people were still using sticks and palm leaves to build their homes and before they had seen people of the western side of the earth, somewhere in Spain they were already designing and constructing such magnificent cathedral.  I can't help being reminded of the game that I like so much - Civilization.  Technology and military strength determine who conquers who and who builds what.  But then at some point, revenues and the happiness of the people determine speed of technology discovery and the eventual victory of a civilization.  But in real life, there's only one who sets the parameters of real victory. 

After visiting the Museo del Prado and the Royal Palace, I was pleasantly surprised that I could take pictures of everything inside the cathedral.  However, this pleasant surprise left me ill-equipped for the occasion since I left my good camera in the apartment and carried only my cellphone.  :(

I love the look of cobblestone that is really old and worn.  It appears now that whenever we go to places with cobblestones I end up taking such pictures.  I don't know why, but I could guess that it is the sense of antiquity with the imagined history behind and imperfection which might have been considered perfect at the time that attract me to cobblestones. It is for these reasons that we had some installed in a small section of my garden but...sigh...they just don't evoke the same impression.

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