Day Three in Spain: Toledo
On our third day in Spain, we took a one hour bus ride to the city of Toledo, one of the oldest cities in Europe. And it certainly looked like it! Almost every building looked like it was from the Middle Ages, but the city itself was alive with activity. Our tour guide Enrique showed us all the historical sites around the city, including beautiful synagogues and cathedrals like the Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo, one of the largest gothic cathedrals in Spain, dating back to 1226. – Cole Campbell
Upon arrival in the city, we met our tour guide and took the bus up a mountain across the Tajo River to see a beautiful panoramic view of Toledo. We got out and took pictures, and then drove through a wealthy neighborhood (and saw magnificent houses) to get to our first destination; a church that was built during the reign of Isabel y Ferdinand. Next, we went to a synagogue and were told about the architectural styles of Toledo. All around the old portion of the city, there are little tiles in the pavement meant to commemorate the former Jewish quarter of the city.
Next, we saw El Greco’s masterpiece, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, which depicted a man’s soul being brought up to heaven. We went to lunch near the Plaza de Zocodover, the main plaza of the city, and then had helado, or ice cream, before getting on the bus to our hotel. As soon as we set down our bags, nearly everyone in the group went to the pool—forget about how cold the water was! After laying out in the sun for a while, we met up with María and Martín [resident directors of the group] for our meeting about what to expect the next day in Sevilla. – Natalie Turton
I quickly fell in love with this tranquil, easy-going historical city. It is without a doubt a favorite of mine. We drove by the historic landmarks and toured an old monastery and the cathedral of Toledo, one of the oldest in the world. I was enthralled with every aspect of the massive structure. The ornate detail, the precious stones and gold, and the overall breathtakingly beautiful architecture absolutely blew me away. The amount of work that it must have taken, especially given the time period in which it was built is unfathomable to me. After this, the group of guys walked around the city, watched some padel (a sort of combination of racquetball and tennis, one of our new favorite sports), and went to one of Toledo´s many knife and sword shops, something the city is very famous for. Toledo is an incredible place that I am yearning to return to as soon as I can, whenever that may be. I would highly recommend a visit to anyone.
All in all, the first few days in Spain were fantastic. I took many pictures to capture a small portion of memories that I will hold onto for the rest of my days. I made new friends, practiced my español, and was lucky enough to visit some great monuments. I love the country of Spain, visit if you have the chance! – Forrest Zimmerman
Madrid and Toledo were two amazing and beautiful cities and I´m so glad that I had the opportunity to see them and I hope that one day I can come back! – Camden Marks
Toledo is one of the few cities to have once been inhabited by Muslims, Christians, and Jewish people all at the same time. The Romans originally founded the city and made it the capital because of the unique location: a tall hill made of granite that it surrounded by a river on 3 sides. Therefore the Romans only had to defend on one side; the north. The Moorish people eventually took over the city coming up from Northern Africa.
The Moors are responsible for the design of the city. Toledo is a city with VERY thin streets, looking extremely antique and beautiful; kind of like a museum. The Moors designed it this way for 2 reasons: it was more difficult for invaders to navigate through the city and thin streets create more shade within the streets. After spending the night in Toledo, we were off to Sevilla, but that is for the next group of bloggers to talk about. Chao! – Weyman Cohen
The above blog post was written by several different students participating on a study abroad program in Sevilla, Spain. Students fly into Madrid, and have a few days to explore and discover both Madrid and Toledo before traveling to Sevilla where they will be taking Spanish classes for college credit. Keep checking back for more updates on ISA High School’s Sevilla 1 group as they spend their first week with their host families!