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A visit to Toledo (the other Toledo)

A getaway weekend to the ancient capital of Spain


You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

The Tajo River walk round Toledo, and the Visigoths

Toledo is ringed round by the 'Senda Ecológica Riberas del Tajo' -- a kind of Parcours Santé to keep the population fit and amused -- and today we're going to walk all round it.

After a false start.

That's the Alcántara bridge (the Arab name for 'bridge'; once on the isle of Djerba in Tunisia, we got off the bus at what we expected from the map to be the town of Alcántara and found ourselves at the end of a causeway without another human around for 15 miles).

The Alcántara bridge had Roman origins and was maintained by the Visigoths and Arabs as the only bridge over the river throughout that time; the fortifications directly above it on the city side show how vital it was to the defense of the city.

Downstream, the new bridge with the roadway across it, and an early power station near a spillway.

Above the old Alcántara, fortifications and the fortress of the Alcázar

On the side away from the city, the Castillo de San Servando on the hill -- originally a monastery from 1088, it was converted into a fort to protect the bridge from attack from the east.

Another view of the old bridge

The power station on the far side, and on the lower left, works called the "device" -- evidently, in the 16th century, the city fathers contracted with an Italian engineer to come along and build a waterworks that could deliver water from the river up the hill to the Alcázar. He did, but there was a quibble about the contract, and he didn't get paid.

The old bridge from the far side of the river

The Ecological Path along the river

A tourist bus on the far side

The walking path takes not much more than an hour to get round the city but is part of a vastly longer cross-country path throughout the territory.

This is the one part of the city that has grown down the hillside to the river.

Geese

Lots of geese

Kristin loves nothing so much as geese. Except marmots, and kitties. And harbor seals.

Another spillway and waterworks

Kristin at the spillway

And an old tower. And Kristin.

Some kind of ex-edifice out in the middle of the river, a bridge perhaps, now a hangout for birds

Like Mr Heron

The river around the west side of the city

The old San Martin bridge

The Puente San Martin and some more waterworks

Under the bridge

The bridge was built in the late 14th century to supplement the Alcántara on the far side of the city and open the place up to traffic and trade from the west.

The bridge through an arch in the city walls coming down the river

The San Martin bridge

That's the end of our river walk, and we're bound next for the church of San Juan de los Reyes, up on the hill.

In the cloister of the Monastery of St John of the Kings -- the handiwork of those paragons of humane piety, Ferdinand and Isabella, the "Catholic Monarchs", built to commemorate their military victory over the Portuguese at Toro in 1476.

The cloisters

Cloisters and towers

Inside San Juan de los Reyes -- the Catholic Monarchs planned this church to be their eventual mausoleum, but subsequently got themselves tombed-up in Granada after they'd conquered that as well.

The cloisters are the best part of it

Kristin and the guidebook

More views from the cloisters

Santo Tomé street, a commercial thoroughfare in the west of the town, just above the Judería neighborhood

Cross-town again, back towards Zocodover

The little train making a U-ey in the plaza.

The Plaza Santo Domingo el Real -- nice, but we're looking for the Mezquita Cristo de la Luz. We're lost, frankly.

Steeply down the hill to the Mezquita, or mosque of Christ of the Light (when Alfonso VI conquered the city in 1085, his horse balked at the door and got the king to follow a miraculous shaft of light to a statue of Christ that had been hidden away there centuries earlier. True).

It's closed. Back up we go.

Plaza San Vicente and a postal delivery truck

We're waiting for the Visigoth museum to open after siesta.

Of course

The cathedral tower

The church of San Román (with a statue of Garcilaso de la Vega) -- the Visigoth stuff is in there.

They're a little late getting back from siesta.

Patientez-vous.

Inside the reconstituted Visigothic church

Visigoth culture has left a fair amount of itself around Spain; the gothic cultures of eastern Europe have left mainly fibulae and belt buckles like these.

Welcome. Won't you come in?

We're going up the tower. "Mine your head", the sign says.

-- Which way from here?

The rooftops of Toledo from the belltower of San Román, the nearby Church of the Jesuits on the left

More rooftops

And more, with the Iglesia de los Jesuitas

Kristin loves geese as well as marmots, kitties, and harbor seals, but not cameras.

The Visigothic church

The museum displays

Another summit bagged

Cool Gifts.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 5 December 2012.


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