Lost in Toledo

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 …

Spanish Toledo

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)

narrow street

Mozarab church

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?

Spanish Knight

– Thank you!

Toledo

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 …

cloister Toledo

I’m lost again.

Jewish quarter Toledo

This must be the Jewish quarter.

Toledo streets

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.

El Greco in Toledo

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.

You’ll not regret visiting the Cathedral’s museum. There, in its “Sacristía“, you’ll find “El Expolio” (“The disrobing of Christ”), among other great treasures.

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.

Toledo museum

El Greco is buried in Toledo, in the Santo Domingo el Antiguo convent, just at the turn of that corner …

El Greco convent

El Greco tomb

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.

spanish square

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”.

ham and cheese

A big asset of Toledo is that sooner or later you always find a Knight Templar at hand to ask for some help …

Spanish warrior

– Thank you!

Spanish mosque

Visigoths

Toledo palm

the kiss

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.

Bécquer brothers in Toledo

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):

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer

“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.

Toledo drawing

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 …

Bécquer in Toledo

Now let’s go on. Perhaps that strange passage can take me out of the city …

mozárabe ceiling

No way. I’m lost.

Toledo tower

I feel I am in the correct path.

Let’s ask that army of young Knights Templar …

Young knights Templar

Go on, go on …

Spanish balconade Toledo

Isn’t that Don Miguel de Cervantes? Yes he is!

Cervantes in Toledo

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 …

Zocodover

The fortress Toledo

Exit gate

Parador de Toledo

veggies

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About Covetotop

A Mediterranean blogger
This entry was posted in Art, Towns & Villages and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Lost in Toledo

  1. Sarah says:

    What a great place to get lost! 🙂 I wish I could read Spanish; Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer’s books sound enthralling.

  2. Lori Lipsky says:

    I loved seeing where EL Greco is from! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. I’m glad you eventually found your way back!

  3. A delightful tour with a fine asparagus finish. What more could one ask?

  4. Haha your posts always make me smile! 🙂 Toledo looks so gorgeous. I especially like your photo of the church (I think it’s a church, at least) with all the palm tree leaves in front of it.

  5. trishworth says:

    I’m teaching myself Spanish and I now recognise a few of your Spanish words, but not enough to read El Beso, unfortunately. One day… And then, another day, I’ll go to this beautiful Toledo and ask for directions when I, too, get lost.

    • Covetotop says:

      I hope you’ll be able to read Bécquer in his original version soon. It’s well worth the effort. If you ever get lost in Toledo, beware of the Knights Templar; they usually provide wrong directions … 😉

  6. samyakkjaya says:

    Magnificent ! I loved whole of Spain during my stey there almost five years. Getting lost in Toledo was one of the best things that cud happen to you. Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.
    Samyak
    ThoughtTavern.com

  7. Kathleen says:

    I’m currently living in Toledo and I adored this post!!! The picture you took on your visit compared to the drawing from over 100 years ago is just incredible! Thanks for sharing!! Do you mind if I repost a link to your blog?

  8. Another very enjoyable reading on your blog! I have just nominated you to the Very Inspiring Blogger Award, you find all details here:
    http://galeriaredelius.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

  9. Ana: says:

    I also got lost, and, therefore, angry. But I have to say, it is a beautiful place. I loved Spain! 🙂

  10. harri8here says:

    Another thing i love about your blog is its irrevocably entwined beauty and humour.

  11. aferreira says:

    Toledo is fascinating and so is your post!
    Besides, your travel notes posts would make a delightful travel notes book and, if you can consider such idea, I would be honoured to create a handmade book model with them – may be a selection of them, for a limited edition? Just an idea… 🙂

    • Covetotop says:

      I am more honoured than you for such an idea from a real artist! But writing my humble blog is just an entertainment for this erratic Covetotop. My blog doesn’t receive many visits and I am not looking for more. I am glad with my little bunch of loyal readers –including you- That’s enough for me. You’d better spend your great talent with greater things … Thank you again for sharing such a flattering idea 🙂

      • aferreira says:

        Aaahhhh … And now, what is this great talented artist (me, of course) supposed to do with this amazing super fantastic idea – that appeared while reading your post – for a travel notes book structure? Aaahhh … 😉

        Seriously now, I see what you mean and of course respect it. No problem, I have other ideas in stand-by, this one will be one more!
        But you are faaar toooooo modest about the quality of your posts – seriously!
        Thank you, anyway! 🙂

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