We have decided to continue our trip into Toledo’s direction. Of course, you might have heard before about Toledo, so did I, but till that moment I haven’t had the chance to visit. And frankly (and sadly) speaking I didn’t know much about this city, that right after our visit I closed into my heart.
It’s approximately 300 km from Calatayud, and by car, you can take this road in about 3 hours, however, of course, you need to calculate some additional time for the necessary stops during the travel.
Toledo is about 70km south from Madrid City and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We have skipped Madrid during this trip, but you can catch a bus or a train from the capital and a one-way journey is about 1 hour long. Thanks to its rich cultural sights, Toledo has become a classic day-trip destination during the years, with its huge haul of churches and convents, mosques and synagogues, not to mention its food (manchego cheeses, powerful red wines, and marzipan in multiple forms).
Dani booked an amazing accommodation, at the Hesperia Hotel upfront in Toledo, very close to the historical city center, so our plan was to arrive, pack out our luggage, and right after going to discover the city center by walking and wandering around.
We arrived there more or less at noon and we caught up with the history immediately. Hesperia Hotel is next to the Tavera Hospital and just a few minutes walking distance to the Puerta Nueva de Bisagra, one of the main entrances of the historical town. The building has an ancient patio used as the reception. It was a woman there who answered some of our historical questions like the building has been a swords factory in times when Toledo was the Spanish capital and its swords conquered after half of the world. We asked where to park the car since it wasn’t allowed to leave it in front the main entrance, however, we were not that lucky with practical replies as we have been with the cultural ones before, so the receptionist indicated a convenient parking lot located next corner non-included in the reservation price.
I couldn’t wait to get into the historical city and start talking about the main point to me in order to understand Toledo’s importance. This ancient capital was the center of Spain and out of it a very important pole worldwide. And it was a tolerant capital during a very long time where the main three cultures of the moment, Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived in convivence. Nowadays Toledo could say proudly that it has kept its historical structure and the travelers can enjoy an intuitive back-in-time trip, getting into by the same gates or along the identical bridges where medieval kings had got into.
Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal
The old city is located on a mountaintop with a 150-degree view, surrounded on three sides by a bend in the Tagus River, and contains many historical sites, including the Alcázar, the cathedral (the primate church of Spain), and the Zocodover, a central market place.
This magical city really has a lot of attractions to offer to visitors. Plaza de Zocodover is located in the city center and is the best place to start a walk and discover the history and culture of Toledo and its culturally mixed legacy.
Its historical city center and its labyrinthine streets are unique, and you can really live and breathe there the history.
After the all-day walking, we decided to get back to the hotel. On our way there we wanted to find a place just to get a refreshing drink. Since we were not far we reached our hotel very quickly, and finally sat down on a terrace just on the opposite side of the local bullring, Plaza de Toros de Toledo, which was closed at that moment. However this bullring is still functioning nowadays, and you can purchase tickets even online for each Bullfighting Festivals. The views on the bullring both during the day and night were spectacular and we couldn’t have found a better place to watch the sunset and enjoy our well-deserved drinks besides those old walls.
Sunset view 😍
There is a new Toledo next to the ancient one. You are able to watch both of them from the other side of the river. There are many strategic viewpoints from the Tajo riverbank where it is possible to observe the whole structure of the medieval town and the evolution of the modern city with the Alcazar always in the background as a judge of history.
Toledo during the civil war stayed in the beginning in republican hands but the nationalist army resisted the attack of the republican forces sent from Madrid inside the Alcazar till they have been rescued by their troops, two months later. The dictatorship regime, that raised up after the war, mythified that resistance and the legend said that Coronel Moscadó, even the republicans had executed his son meanwhile, presented himself to General Varela and said: “No news in the Alcazar, my General” like if the time hasn’t passed. And personally, I would prefer if the things have gone the other way around, but what is indeed true is that in Toledo something of all times remains, and the time itself somehow has been stopped.