One of the more memorable day trips we took during our time in Spain was to the city of Toledo. Toledo was once the Capital city of Spain, which has since been changed to Madrid. Upon entering the city, it’s easy to see why Spain would have chosen Toledo to be their representative capital.
The city sits on a tall plateau surrounded by the Tajo River, which allowed us to overlook the entire city as we approached it from a winding road on our tour bus. We immediately appreciated not only the natural scenery of the city, but the architectural aspects as well. The Toledo Cathedral and the Alcazar of Toledo, two centerpieces of the city, clearly outline the skyline of the city and illustrate the Spanish commitment to great architecture.
As we neared the end of the scenic winding road, we came to the entrance to the city which enters via a stone bridge over the large river enclosing the city. At this point, we all set out on foot to take a tour of the city with our tour guide. First, we toured to the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca, which is regarded as possibly being the oldest standing synagogue in Europe. The building is a reminder that Spain has deep roots with many different cultures and religions.
We continued our tour through the city visiting multiple historical sites, with the most impressive being the Toledo Cathedral, otherwise known as the Cathedral Primada Santa Maria de Toledo. Similar to most of Toledo, this cathedral is accented with white marble stone and is decorated with seemingly endless detail of sculptures and engravings on the exterior. Compared to all of the other architecture on the trip, this cathedral may have been the most impressive.
After examining the cathedral, we concluded the day with some authentic Spanish churros dipped in chocolate and shopped throughout the city alleys. One notable observation throughout all of the cities shopping districts is that nearly every other shop was dedicated to selling authentic handmade metal swords. This made it impossible to walk away from the city without a souvenir sword to bring back to the U.S.
While our Spain trip consisted of many great tours throughout the country, Toledo was perhaps the most intriguing city as it seemed to truly encapsulate the cultural and historical perspective of the country.