I knew it could happen. I was just wandering through the narrow and phantasmagoric streets of the medieval Toledo, taking pictures here and there for my universally acclaimed blog, when it happened: I got lost.
So, my dear little bunch of friendly readers, if you are not afraid of having no escape and being with this blogger in a labyrinth for a while, follow me through the mysterious streets, long corridors, amazing cloisters, Visigothic churches, Templar Knights’ realm, El Greco’s house and some other legendary corners of this 2000 years old imperial city of Toledo, Spain …
This old maze of dark, tangled and convoluted streets was made for walking. Forget using your horse-drawn cart or even your folding-bicycle (medieval architects didn’t foresee the existence of such exotic things as folding-bicycles and they put surprising obstacles everywhere)
OK. Let’s face it. I’m lost. Don’t panic. I just have to ask someone to help me get unlost. The main problem is to find someone in these lonely streets. Oh! Look! Someone!
– Excuse me, Mr. Knight Templar, could you tell me the way to the exit gate?
– Thank you!
I have walked for some twenty-five meters, and now … Did he say turn to the right or turn to the left? Mmm … To the left, I guess, and then to the right, and then …
I’m lost again.
This must be the Jewish quarter.
Hey! Wait a minute! I know this house! Here lived “El Greco” (Candia 1541-Toledo 1614), born Doménikos Theotokópoulos (he came from Greece; his nickname “El Greco” means “The Greek”). As you may well know, he was a painter of the Spanish Renaissance. In Toledo he produced his best paintings.
If you, like me, love his unconventional, almost-expressionistic, almost-cubistic and always-awesome style, you can see lots of his works not only in his museum … In Toledo you can stay in awe for a long while in front of El Greco’s masterpiece “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz” in the Santo Tomé church.
Last, but not least: in the Santa Cruz museum of Toledo (old hospital of Santa Cruz, Spanish Renaissance building; pic below) you’ll find 29 works by El Greco.
El Greco is buried in Toledo, in the Santo Domingo el Antiguo convent, just at the turn of that corner …
If you are still hungry of El Greco’s art, take your car (1 hour drive) or the high-speed train (just half an hour) and go to one of the very best museums of the world, the Prado Museum, in Madrid, where you’ll find quite a few outstanding El Grecos. Wow!
Well, I’d take my car now too if I were able to find the exit of this labyrinth … Let’s go on.
I am very hungry, and this grocery store seems to have good ham and cheese, but it is closed now. And I feel like eating some veggies today; asparaguses, for example … I’d rather wait until I reach the “Parador de Toledo”.
A big asset of Toledo is that sooner or later you always find a Knight Templar at hand to ask for some help …
– Thank you!
Wandering through these historical streets I can’t help thinking of one of my favorite writers: Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (Sevilla, 1836-Madrid, 1870).
He lived for some time here, in Toledo, with his brother Valeriano (an accomplished painter). Both of them loved this city and it appears very often in their respective works.
I’m aware that my readers (if any) love reading stuff written in English (like this horrendous blog), most probably because they are English-speaking people. But if any of you have some knowledge of Spanish (I know that two or three of you speak a pretty good Spanish), I strongly recommend to you reading Gustavo Adolfo Becquer’s works. If you like mystery and historical fiction, his legends and narrations are light-years better than any modern “best-seller” written in English, Spanish or Swahili.
This is Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (cover of an edition of “Legends and Narrations”; his brother Valeriano painted the Gustavo Adolfo’s portrait you can see here below):
“As long as science fails to discover the sources of life, as long as, on sea or in the sky, there is an abyss that is resistant to mathematical reckoning, as long as mankind in its steady progress is ignorant of where it’s heading, as long as a mystery exists for man, there will be poetry!” (Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer)
So, my little bunch of friendly readers, if any of you are willing to read outstanding Spanish literature, read Mr. Bécquer. For instance, if you have just a few minutes now, you can read his Toledoan legend called “El beso” (“The kiss”) by clicking here.
By the way, talking about legends, here above you can see a drawing by Gustavo Adolfo’s brother Valeriano (I took this picture from the book “Obras Completas de Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer”, Editorial Cátedra).
And here below you’ll find the very same street of Toledo drawn by Valeriano Bécquer 150 years ago, photographed just a few days ago by the legendary Covetotop …
Now let’s go on. Perhaps that strange passage can take me out of the city …
No way. I’m lost.
I feel I am in the correct path.
Let’s ask that army of young Knights Templar …
Go on, go on …
Isn’t that Don Miguel de Cervantes? Yes he is!
I’m flattered! Cervantes himself reads my blog! Oh! Wow!
By the way, dear reader, did you read my post “Don Miguel and Don Quixote”? It is very nice!
Go on, go on, go on Covetotop … Don Miguel told me that I can find very easily the exit by crossing that strange door behind him …