I have uploaded the ePub file of my book The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Yay! I’ll let it sit for a few days just in case. I’ll set up for the pre-order on August 1, and will have a short launch tour the first week of September. We’ll be gone most of August to spend time with the grandkids, and take a short vacation in Canada for our anniversary later in August. I don’t want to publish the book yet because I don’t want it to be unattended.
This is part 2 of my Toledo, Spain post.
We traveled to seven cities in Spain and spent one to two days in each. Typically, when we arrived in a city, the tour bus drove us around some major sightseeing sites. Some tours are included in the package, but some are excursions which required additional fees. I usually paid for all the excursions, so I don’t remember which ones are included in the basic package.
We arrived in Madrid and took a quick tour around town. The tour coach drove about 45 minutes from Madrid to Toledo. Toledo is about 89.6 square miles. It didn’t take long to go on foot to view some sights. After we did some sightseeing of the exterior of the buildings, we toured the interior of The Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca. We also visited the Museum of Swords. I’m presenting the locations in the sequence of our itinerary.
The Church of San Román (Iglesia de San Román) was constructed with a Mudéjar design during the 13th century. It is one of the oldest in Toledo. Inside are stunning horseshoe arches characteristic of Islamic architecture. They are decorated with Romanesque and Arabic frescos painted with warm hues of orange and red. The structure is now the Museum of Visigothic Councils and Culture. The photo on the right is from Wikipedia.
The Primatial Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo (Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo), known as Toledo Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic church. The cathedral of Toledo is one of the three 13th-century High Gothic cathedrals in Spain and is considered to be the magnum opus (a great work especially the greatest achievement of an artist or writer) of the Gothic style in Spain. It was begun in 1226 under the rule of Ferdinand III and the last Gothic contributions were made in the 15th century when, in 1493, the vaults of the central nave were finished during the time of the Catholic Monarchs.
The Museum of the Army (Museo del Ejército) is a national museum attached to the Ministry of Defense. The history of the museum began in 1803 when the royal military museum was established in a building in Madrid known as the Palacio de Monteleón. The building also served as a barracks for artillery units, and it was attacked and looted by the French when they suppressed the Dos de Mayo Uprising of 1808. The museum was reestablished, but in 1827 it was divided into two sections: the Museo de Artillery and the Museo de Ingenious. The collections were moved from Madrid to Toledo in 2010.
The Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca (Sinagoga de Santa María La Blanca, which means ‘Synagogue of Saint Mary the White’) is a museum and former synagogue in Toledo. Erected in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century, it is considered the oldest synagogue building in Europe still standing. The building was converted into a Catholic church in the early 15th century. The synagogue is located in the former Jewish quarter of the city. It is one of three preserved synagogues constructed by Jews in a Mudéjar or Moorish style.
We toured the interior of The Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca. The columns are in white. I waited a long time to take a phot with no people in it.
The Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes (Monasterio de San Juan de Los Reyes) is in the heart of Toledo’s Jewish Quarter. The late-Gothic style monastery was built in the 15th century to commemorate the political victory of the Catholic Monarchs. The structure is beautifully decorated both on the inside and out. The interior features a combination of late Gothic-style detailing on the bottom floor and a Mudéjar design on the top floor.
Museum of Sword – Toledo steel, historically known for being unusually hard, has been a traditional sword-making, metal-working center since the Roman period, and came to the attention of Rome when used by Hannibal in the Punic Wars. It soon became a standard source of weaponry for Roman legions. Toledo produced all of the swords for the film trilogy and apparently some of the rings. This should explain the number of Lord of the Rings-themed shops that are around town selling swords and memorabilia.
We toured the forge of the Museum of Sword where a blacksmith demonstrated the process of forging a sword. This facility is for demonstration only. The current facility is moved to somewhere that produces large quantity of swords.
Toledo Puente de Alcántara, a 13th Century Boorish Bridge, is a beautiful historic bridge situated below the medieval Castle of San Servando. It is an elegant arch-style bridge that stretches across the Tagus River which surrounds the historic center. The old Roman bridge used to be the only entry to the city for pilgrims. While the Puente de Alcantara originates from Roman times, the bridge we see today was rebuilt in the 10th century after it was damaged.
This post concludes my presentation of our tour in Toledo, Spain. I hope you find something interesting in the architecture and history.