Tag Archives: Toledo

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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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #165: Going Wide

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Patti invited us to look at the photos with wide angle images. The wide-angle view is perfect for capturing a broad vista like a landscape, seascape, or cityscape.

Well, I have a small camera and I haven’t made any investment on camera equipment. When taking photos of landscape, seascape, or cityscape, I take them at different angles to capture the wide views.

I included two sets of photos from my travel archives, one set from Spain and another set from Germany. In Spain, we arrived in Madrid and took the tour bus to Toledo, Seville, Granada, and Barcelona. In Germany, we arrived in Frankfurt and took a boat to Cologne. We took a high-speed train from Cologne to Berlin. Then we were on the tour bus from Berlin to Würzburg, Bavaria, Munich, and Schwangau.

Here are the highlights of our travel.

Fountain in front of the Royal Theater

Teatro Real (Royal Theatre) is a major opera house in Madrid. Founded in 1818 and inaugurated on November 19,1850, 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.

Royal Theater

Toledo is known as the Imperial City because it was the primary venue of the court of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in Spain.

Old City of Toledo and River Tajo

The Roman bridge of Córdoba is a bridge in the Historic center of Córdoba, Andalusia, southern Spain, built in the early 1st century BC across the Guadalquivir River. The bridge was built by the Romans in the early 1st century BC, perhaps replacing a previous wooden one.

The Roman bridge of Córdoba

The City of Arts and Sciences is a cultural and architectural complex in the city of Valencia, Spain. It is the most important modern tourist destination in the city of Valencia and one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. It was designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela. The project began the first stages of construction in July 1996 and was inaugurated on April 16, 1998. The following structure L’Umbracle is an open structure enveloping a landscaped walk with plant species indigenous to Valencia 

L’Umbracle

We took the high-speed train from Cologne to Berlin. At one point the train was going 220 mph.

Cologne Train Station

The Berlin Wall, once known as ‘The Wall of Shame’ that separated the east and west Germany. In 1989, the wall finally came down. The 1,316 meter (4,317 feet) long remnant of The Berlin Wall was kept as a heritage protected landmark. The Wall was decorated by many international and German artists with graffiti and street art, expressing their hopes and reflecting their feelings on this momentous occasion.

Berlin Wall

The Würzburg Residence is a palace in Würzburg, Southern Germany. The Würzburg Residence was commissioned by the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg Johann Philipp Franz von Schönborn and his brother Friedrich Carl von Schönborn. It was built and decorated in the 18th century. The Residence was constructed between 1720 and 1744, decorated in the interior from 1740 to 1770 and landscaped with magnificent gardens from 1765 to 1780. 

The Würzburg Residence Garden
The Würzburg Residence Garden

Bavarian Alps is a summarizing term for several mountain ranges of the Northern Limestone Alps in the Germany state of Bavaria. Like the Alps as a whole, the Bavarian Alps were heavily influenced by the last ice age. Depositions by the ice age rivers and glaciers left behind a gently rolling landscape in the Alpine Foreland with lakes and bogs.

Germany Bavarian Alps

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #165: Going Wide

Thank you for reading.

Have a Wonderful Week!

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #155 – On the Water

John Steiner is the guest host for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #155. He says throughout history, people have gravitated to water for trade and for relaxation and he invited us to share the photos on the water.

This week, I have fun reflecting and finding the quotes and sayings about water and ocean. Please enjoy the scenes and the wisdom about Water throughout history.

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.” – Lao Tzu 

Toledo, Spain

“Water is soft and humble, but it is the most powerful and is the most endurable.”Debasish Mridha

Huntington Library, California

“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” – Sarah Kay

Newport Beach, California

“Dance with the waves, move with the sea, let the rhythm of the water set your soul free.” – Christy Ann Martine

Maui, Hawaii

“Water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing, in the end, can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone.” – Margaret Atwood

“Water is the driving force of all nature.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Moulton Falls, Washington

“Life is like the ocean; it goes up and down.” ― Vanessa Paradis

Bondi Beach, Australia

“To reach a port we must set sail. Sail, not tie at anchor. Sail, not drift.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Pacific Ocean, Ensenada Cruise, Mexico

“We ourselves feel what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa

 “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” ― Ryunosuke Satoro

Sunset, Ensenada Cruise, Mexico

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #155 – On the Water

Thank you for your visit. I welcome your generous comment.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #124 – Now and Then

Happy Thanksgiving from Beach Ford! | Beach Ford

This week Amy invited us to reflect on our time staying at home mostly due to the pandemic, compared to what happened to our life prior to this situation. What happened then, and what happened now?

“Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know everything happens for a reason.” — Albert Schweitzer

It has been over eight months since COVID-19 hit. Did time go by fast?

It did not; it was like forever. The second week of March was difficult to be confined at home. I wanted to run outside to do something. I wanted to shout or talk to someone. It was boring to do the same things day after day. There were no special events such as travel, movies, family and social gathering, birthdays, or holidays to punctuate the different seasons. As time went by, I accepted the new normal and set up my new routine. In fact, I appreciated the concentrated time to do certain tasks without interruption. Even when the social distancing was relaxed, I was not ready to take risk except going to see my granddaughters with great caution.

On the other hand, time went by fast. This one enormous bubble of a single day was in fact eight months long. Yet, it will not last forever. History told us that this will end. I will do my part to observe the safety regulation. I will stay safe and keep healthy, so when this is over, I can fully enjoy my family.

We had been doing major traveling since 2000, went to Australia, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Germany, Austria, Spain, and China, to name some countries. We didn’t go anywhere except Portland to see Mercy and her family. I spend a lot of time gardening.

Toledo, Spain

Thanksgiving is our major family gathering time. Two sister-in-laws and I took turns to host the Thanksgiving dinner. Mercy and her family came to California to join us. Two weeks ago, California, Oregon, and Washington jointly announced a new restriction. Upon arriving in Oregon, we would have to be self-quarantine for 14 days. The new spikes of cases spread throughout the country, it is worse than March when the pandemic started. Hubby and I will spend the holiday just the two of us, and cook a 15-pound turkey, eat some and freeze some for later.

Autumn had a big birthday party with many friends her age in 2019. We are not big cake eaters. Autumn had a birthday pie. This year, she had a smaller birthday party in the front yard serving a cake to her friends and aunties and uncles. They came in masks keeping the social distancing.

Nora is growing fast. The first two years of a kid’s life is the fast growing period in proportion to the remaining of one’s life. When I visited her in August, she was not sitting up yet. She turned eight months two days ago. She is now sitting up and enjoys eating many mashed veggies.

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Lens Artists Challenge # 124: Now and Then

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