Friday, January 20, 2012

Toledo






Toledo, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, has actually existed for much longer than that. It has been populated since the Bronze Age, and it was particularly important as a commercial and administrative center during Roman Times, when it was known as Toletum. It later served as the capital city of Visigothic Spain and it remained so until the Moors conquered the peninsula in the 8th century, when it became known as Tulaytulah (طليطلة).





This is the Alcázar, a fortification located in the highest part of Toledo. It was a Roman palace in the third century, restored under Alfonso VI & X (11th & 13th centuries) and then completely revamped by Alonso de Covarrubias in 1535 under Carlos I of Spain.





It now holds the Museo del Ejército (Museum of the Army) and the Biblioteca Autonómica (Castilla-La Mancha Regional Library).














We went to the Museo del Greco which, though built in order to resemble a home and to reflect the way in which the artist lived, was actually built in 1911 in order to house a number of his works which were, at the time, underappreciated (how?!).






The museum is built over the foundations of a sixth century home and a Renaissance palace in the Jewish quarter of Toledo, and it is the only museum dedicated to the artist (again, how?!).











I'm sure that it is, by now, blatantly obvious that I am in love with this man. And those hands!






Monday, January 16, 2012

The Move: Cáceres

Our final stop was at Cáceres, where we arrived just in time to eat dinner and head to bed. Though at first it seemed a bustling sort of city, we soon realized the hotel my mother had booked was, in fact, adjacent to the historic quarter.












We ate at a little restaurant and had the most delicious burgers, though everything else was either meh or downright insipid.














Our hotel was, as you can see, adorable.












The next day, after a failed search for a churreria at which to have breakfast, we resumed the drive to Madrid and made it later that evening. I didn't take any pictures that night because I was all eyes and couldn't be bothered to tinker with the settings of my camera to get the pictures right. I just wanted to see. The arrival was perfect because we made it early enough to still catch some Christmas lights up here and there, and the Metropolis in the Gran Via was all lit up, and it was just wonderful. Here are some pictures from the past few days that will illustrate Madrid better than my words ever could. I love it here so far, and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be in this city (I'm in Madrid!) and experience it as I have been.