Toledo exudes layers of history, including its reign at one time as the capital of Spain and an important seat of papal power outside Rome. We learned more about the city during a tour of the magnificent French Gothic cathedral. For instance, the term “Holy Toledo” became common because of the area’s religious significance. Its sister city is Toledo, Ohio — not far from where I was born in Adrian, Michigan and where Mom sang with the Toledo Choral Society. I remember going with her as a kid to choir practice and listening to the music.
While on the tour, we discovered that a couple from Ramona were on the tour too — Randy and Connie Waitman — Dad had given basketball lessons to Connie’s son Thomas. The second time in two days we ran into people connected to Ramona — it really is a small world.
The cathedral houses a collection of masterwork, including the Spanish painter El Greco (the Greek). Our tour guide stressed that to understand the painter El Greco, is to understand Spain. I was familiar with the painter’s dramatic, elongated figures — in one of my art history classes I’d analyzed an El Greco portraying St. Francis of Assisi. Toledo’s El Greco museum is a two-story compound on the grounds of the historical Jewish quarter. One room features paintings of the disciples, including St. James — the info card mentions his burial in Santiago.
Reminders of the Camino follow us — at the Iglesia de Santo Tome there was a shell doorknob, and while walking around the streets, we saw a fellow pilgrim sporting a T-shirt with a yellow arrow. These shirts had been displayed in Santiago shops.
In the early evening we bussed up to Toledo’s hilltop, which offers a panoramic view of the city. Tomorrow more sights before leaving for Madrid Saturday.