Category Archives: Thursday Doors

Thursday Doors: Toledo, Spain – Part 2

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 Museum of the Army 

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.

The Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes

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.

Thursday Doors: Toledo, Spain – Part 2

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Thursday Door – Toledo, Spain

Sorry that I scheduled this post on the wrong date. It went live last night when there was nothing but a couple of photos. I’m still not quite ready for a complete post because I’m in the middle of formatting my new book, The Winding Road. I got the final file from my editor last week. I did the corrections and listened to the computer read to me multiple times. The computer reads every word, it’s a good way to catch some typos and other errors. I uploaded it onto KDP and ordered a proof copy. Then I had the computer read to me again and followed the book. You know what? The computer didn’t catch a missing punctuation and a few typos. Anyway, I sent out the file to have a designer convert it into ePub for the eBook. So, I had to tell him to redo the ePub file.

I hope to publish my book in the first week of August because hubby and I will visit the grandkids. After that, we’ll take a short trip to Canada.

This post will be Toledo, Part 1.

After touring Madrid, we went on to the next city, Toledo. The tour bus drove 42 miles south-southwest of Madrid and arrived on the other side of the city. Toledo is situated on a rugged promontory washed on three sides by the Tagus River.

We stopped for a while to admire the panoramic view of the city’s surroundings. I took quite a few photos of the city. Then the tour bus took us to tour the city. The tour guide was very informative to introduce us to some major buildings, structures, and churches in Toledo. We only visit the outside of these buildings. The only place we toured inside was Santa Maria de la Blanca Synagogue. I will have some photos of the synagogue and several other places next week.

Panoramic view of Toledo, surrounded by Tagus River on three sides

The Santiago del Arrabal Church (Iglesia de Santiago del Arrabal) is a 13th-century Catholic church built in 1245–48, at the orders of Sancho II, on the site of an earlier building, possibly a mosque. Many characteristics of Islamic architecture, such as the horseshoe arch, have remained in the present building which is built in the Mudéjar style.

The Santiago del Arrabal Church

The Mosque of Christ of the Light (Mosque Cristo de la Luz)is a Catholic chapel and former mosque in Toledo It is one of the ten that existed in the city during the Moorish period. It is located near the Puerta del Sol, in an area of the city once called Medina where wealthy Muslims used to live.

The Mosque of Christ of the Light

The Church of San Ildefonso (Iglesia de San Ildefonso Jesuitas) is a Baroque-style church located in the historic center of Toledo. It is the second largest temple in the city after the Toledo Cathedral. It was built in the highest part of Toledo and offers a gorgeous view of the city from the top of its twin towers.

The Church of San Ildefonso

The following photos are the narrow streets. They are really narrow. Probably the neighbors can see each other across the street. These streets reminded me of the movie The Italian Job with three Mini Coopers. I could see the Coopers could run through these narrow streets. Some narrow streets are twice the size of the photos included here. Small cars like the coopers can go through them. The pedestrians would compete with the cars for the space though. Lynton pulled me closer to the wall once when a car came by.

I’ll have a lot more to share with you next week. Spain was one of my favorite countries for visit. I hope to go back someday.

I think of Darlene Foster and Joy Lennick as I write the posts about Spain. They have a lot more personal experiences to share with you.

Thursday Door – Toledo, Spain

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Thursday Door – Madrid, Spain

Lynton and I joined the Trafalgar Tour on a 10-day trip in Spain several years ago. We can purchase a land tour only or land and flights. Their tours usually fly out of New York. We live in Southern California, so we cooked our own flights and met the tour at the first stop in Madrid, then went to Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Granada, Valencia, and Barcelona.

Lynton and I arrived in Madrid and stayed at the same hotel where the tour met. All the tour members met and introduced themselves to each other the evening before the tour began. The next day, after breakfast, the tour guide took us on a quick tour around the city. We only spent a couple of hours in Madrid because it was not our major sightseeing city. We got off the tour bus long enough to take a few photos. After making a few stops, we were on our way to Toledo.

I took the following photos and got the information from the websites about these places.

Las Ventas Bullring

The Las Ventas Bullring

Madrid’s main bullring is called La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espíritu Santo, or simply, Las Ventas. The bullfight season runs from March to October. The best time to see bullfights in Madrid is during the months of May and June. The world-famous San Isidro bullfight festival takes place during these months and brings together the best fighters, bulls, and aficionados. Outside San Isidro, fights are normally held every Sunday, starting at 7 o’clock in the evening.  https://www.gomadrid.com/activity/madrid-bullfights.html

Royal Theatre

Teatro Real (Royal Theatre)

Teatro Real (Royal Theatre) or simply El Real, as it is known colloquially, is a major opera house in Madrid. Founded in 1818 and inaugurated on 19 November 1850, it closed in 1925 and reopened in 1966. Beginning in 1988 it underwent major refurbishing and renovation works and finally reopened in 1997 with a capacity of 1,746 seats. Today the Teatro Real opera is one of the great theaters of Europe hosting large productions involving leading international figures in opera singing, musical direction, stage direction, and dance. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teatro_Real

Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid)

Madrid’s Royal Palace is a beautiful baroque structure with some 3,000 rooms, making it one of Europe’s largest castles. Although the royal family no longer lives here, the Palacio Real still serves as the king and queen’s official residence, a venue for state ceremonies, and a place for tourists to get a peek into the royal history of Spain. https://www.viator.com/Madrid-attractions/Royal-Palace-Palacio-Real

Monumento a Felipe IV (on horse)
Reinando Isabel Segunda de Borbon
Miguel de Cervantes Monument in Plaza de España Madrid

Thursday Door – Madrid, Spain

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Thursday Door – City Tour

One morning my husband and I joined a Fullerton downtown tour. We started at 7:00 a.m. before the city got busy. We walked 45,000 steps recorded by several people’s apps.

According to Wikipedia, Fullerton was founded in 1887. It secured the land on behalf of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway. Historically, it was a center of agriculture, with notable groves of Valencia oranges and other citrus crops.

Fullerton is in the Orange County. When the name Orange County was first proposed, there weren’t very many oranges. Most locals were growing grapes and raising hogs, but in an effort to better promote the area, the county looked to oranges. The name became official in 1889. Migrants poured in, and many planted small citrus groves. Around 1900, oranges became the county’s main crop. Millions of orange trees were planted.

Most of the homes in our neighborhood, including ours, have a Valentia orange tree in the backyard. We benefit greatly with a harvest of 1,500 oranges in the last crop. We squeezed and froze the juice for our daily consumption.

The orange tree in my backyard

In 1886, the city began negotiations with George H. Fullerton, president of the Pacific Land and Improvement Company, also a Santa Fe subsidiary. They offered free right-of-way and half interest in the land to the railroad and name the city after him. On July 5, 1887, the negotiation came through and the railroad station is now the intersection of Harbor Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue.

Railroad Station

Downtown Fullerton, with its palm tree-lined streets and low-rise historical buildings, is full of old California style and character.

Downtown Fullerton

The city was built on level ground, which makes walking around the area easy and a great way to explore. It rains on average twenty days out of the entire year.

Fox Theater is a landmark feature from the inception of Fullerton City. The City Council considered demolishing it but the citizen organized a campaign to save it. The group raised funds to strengthen the structure and improve its appearance.

The original California hotel, now named Villa del Sol, was completed in 1922. The project was initiated by Charles C. Chapman for the purpose of creating a first-class hotel in the city. It now currently has a variety of restaurants. The Cellar restaurant is one of the restaurants in the basement. The prices are ranging from $$$ to $$. The Cellar was one of the restaurants in the basement of Villa del Sol. Steak dinner with wine and dessert for two easily costs over $200.

Thursday Door – City Tour

Thank you for joining me for this short tour.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday Doors – London 2

London was the first stop on our Europe trip. We bought the Europe land tour package from a travel company and purchased air tickets separately because we wanted a flexible flight schedule.

We arrived in London five days prior to the tour so that we could visit family and friends. After that, we joined our tour for the resting of sightseeing. The tour bus drove us around London to overview the major attractions, then took us back to the hotel. Some people elected to visit places on their own, but we paid for the excursion for the guided tour. On the last day of the tour, we took the cruise around the city on River Thames.

Windsor Castle is in Berkshire, England, and was built as a motte and bailey castle by William the Conqueror (r. 1066-1087). Converted into stone by Henry II of England (r. 1165-1179), the shell keep tower was rebuilt by Edward III of England (r. 1327-1377). The castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II (r. 1953-).

Windsor Castle entrance

As part of the admission, we received the audio device for the self-guided tour. It is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Mandarin. When we key in the room’s number or place where we were in, we could hear a full commentary.

Queen Mary’s House, Windsor Castle

Framlingham Castle was built during the 12th century and maintains much of its original features, including its incredible stone architecture and many features that were classic of that era. It is here Mary Tudor, “Bloody Mary,” was crowned Queen. Queen Mary I made no secret of her religious beliefs and she was a devout Catholic upon taking the throne in 1553. To convert England to Catholicism, she would persecute over 300 protestants in the name of religion. This reign of religious terror earned her the nickname of ‘Bloody Mary.’

Guard

Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarchy of the United Kingdom.

Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is one of the United Kingdom’s most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and a burial site and 17 royal weddings.

Westminister Abbey

The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Palace of Westminister

Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the striking clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London.

Big Ben

The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London.

Tower of London

Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge built between 1886 and 1894, designed by Horace Jones and engineered by John Wolfe Barry. The double-leaf bascule, movable bridge raises to permit passage of a ship having masts too tall to pass under at this point.

Tower Bridge

Thursday Doors – London 2

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