From Granada we traveled by train to Toledo - another incredibly historic city. Home of the artist El Greco-which had me super excited as I'm a fan. Please plan a walking tour if/when you visit. The mix of cultures and defining characteristics is so interesting. Roman, Jewish, Moorish and Christian heritages are represented throughout Toledo and hearing/seeing these details is priceless.
We arrived in the evening after a couple of train rides through Spain.
Our hotel was the perfect retreat - nestled into the historic city walls - with gardens and a restaurant/bar.
A memorable stay that really made us feel like we were part of this historical city. The hotel
is an 18th Century palace with charming details around every corner. There are multiple salons, patios, courtyards and gardens.
It wasn't too cold outside - so we decided to take a breather on one of the patios near our room. Well...the building is ancient and constantly being monitored to keep this or that in good shape. We got locked out on that patio (which had no exit and was not at ground level) by the staff taking care of those details inside. I guess they thought the door had come unlocked so they locked it back. A little knocking when the next person walking by got us back in, thankfully!
Views around the hotel and bar - Loved the room key and hotel room ceiling
Food was [again] good and easy to find.
Our first meal was at the hotel restaurant-convenient and one of the top rated in the city.
Anchovies and olives to start - pretty bottle of water - main course of fish with herb sauce
Here's our Toledo day-team, fresh from a tour of this incredible city-ready to toast and try allll the tapas we could find!
Of everything we found and ate on this trip - my favorite is still boquerones. These are anchovies marinated in vinegar. They are SO TASTY! Notice that I almost missed my photo opportunity here-not much left!
Fine dining is always nice - but you visit Spain for the tapas experience. Small plates of this and that - each one as delicious as the next. Such a fun meal with friends since all of these are meant to be shared.
I can't remember exactly what everything was - but her's a good guess...
Very top: Bread
Maybe croquettes in front of the bread...
I see potatoes on the left [black, specked dish] and a mixed dish with what I believe is morcilla sausage and jamon on the right [red dish].
The creamy dish topped with a black olive seems to be a seafood dip-ish tapa and the bottom left was some sort of mousse/pate type spread.
I'll confirm this - all of it was very good and we enjoyed it all!
Thank you for a great afternoon El Trebol!
Toledo is known for swords and mazapán (we call it marzipan in the US). Let me say - the marzipan I've had so far has been alright-I've never been a huge fan...until Toledo! Mazapán de Toledo is a light and soft marzipan treat that I could have eaten every day. Delicious. We found it displayed in every other window throughout the city. Mazapán fish-Mazapán sword-Mazapán everything
El Greco was born in Greece but is proudly revered as a symbol of Toledo. This is where he lived and created many of his famous works. It was not hard to find El Greco paintings in this city - which was wonderful. I remember studying El Greco years ago in school and always thought of his paintings as moody and ominous. I was not disappointed to see them in person.
This kid was great - I think he either had enough history for the day or was admiring the ceiling.
These paintings were all viewed at the Toledo Cathedral - an amazing sight in itself.
El Greco Works: The Disrobing of Christ & Saint Dominic in Prayer
This cathedral is very unique in that it has a huge opening named Transparente in it's ceiling. Construction began in 1226 - but this feature was added in the 1700s to brighten Mass with natural light.
Cathedral Entry-Street decor-Plaza de Zocodover-Shop of all things-Street decor-Roman Road Ruins
It was in Toledo that I became aware of the fact that baby Jesus was missing from most of the mangers. Having grown up in the southern United States, I'd never seen any nativity scene without baby Jesus in the manger from the time the nativity scene was set up until is was taken down. Some traditions wait until Christmas Eve to place him into the nativity scene; which is what was happening here. It is interesting to see the similarities and differences of the way the same holidays are celebrated. To think that many of us are celebrating the same story-an ocean away-with our own little twists across the world brings me joy for some reason.
I really did keep an eye on these as we went through the rest of our trip and to different cities in Spain. Some included baby Jesus and some waited for Christmas Eve.