While I’m not sure that the cliche expression has much relevance to the city of Toledo itself, “Holy Toledo” is certainly an appropriate reaction to this elegantly antiquated city in the middle of Spain. Picturesque, drowning in a rich mixture of history of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures, and thankfully not overrun by tourists, Toledo is an idyllic Spanish city full of culture and a token local food: marzipan. Not a fan o’ the marzipan, but as I’ve found, every Spanish city seems to have a bizarre food that they’re famous for–or maybe just weird enough to actually produce on a massive scale. Regardless, I’ll take a stab and say that Barcelona’s local food is deep fried __(fill in the blank)__.
Back on track–Toledo was a stop on our bus ride from Madrid to Barcelona, and an unfortunately brief one at that. Although we were just in the city for a day, our marathon-style touring yielded an impressive coverage of the city’s many monuments and museums. We went on a walking tour with a feisty little Toledo local, who proceeded to quiz us about Spanish history and geography, and somehow make us feel guilty when we didn’t know the Queen’s birthday or favorite meal or whatever. So I tuned him out, and just took in the narrow twisting, yet inviting, alleyways that connect the dense old city of Toledo within the Moorish city walls. Although the majority of the modern city lies outside the old city walls, the winding walkways within (ooh alliteration) are genuinely romantic–everything is just so freakin’ old. I can’t even imagine what living in a 14th century building would be like–except that you could always defend yourself from annoying neighbors through the arrow-slits. How practical!
After a day of being in constant awe of Toledo’s beauty, and almost all night spent in a club converted from an old cathedeal, we hopped back on our trusty tour buses for an 8 hour trek to Barcelona. The drive was oddly reminiscent of my least favorite drive on the I-5 from SF to LA–hot, nothing to look at, hot, and full of stinky cow poop. So, in a way, it was just like driving back to school. Except the part about being in Spain, and our destination being Barcelona, it’s (sadly) time to learn stuff good!