Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kimber in Toledo: Part II

As promised, I present to you - the Catedral Primada de Santa Maria de Toledo.

The Toledo Cathedral, its formal name Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo, was constructed beginning in 1227 under the order of the Archbishop Rodrigo Jiménez. It is located on a site which had formerly held a Visigoth Cathedral in the sixth century, later used as a mosque.

It is 120 meters long and 60 meters wide, and contains 5 naves supported by 88 pillars and 72 vaults. In other words, it's a huge building. You step inside and your breath hitches at your throat, your eyes immediately shoot up to find the tallest point, and your legs invariably wobble underneath you as the rush of blood to your head leaves them weak. Running into other visitors is a matter of course - nobody bothers to look where they're going when there are arches and stained glass windows waiting to be admired all the way up there. Photography? Yes, there are signs at the entrance, and again every so often throughout the building, with the ill-famed "no photography" symbol, but if you look around, it's like our memories were wiped. Some people are even letting their flashes go off! And don't worry, there's no need to hide it from the security guards - they really don't mind.

So, we're in the treasury, right? And it's full of Asian tourists, jam packed. This small lady was standing in front of me and all of a sudden, she steps on me by accident. By reflex, I yell out, "Ow!" and she immediately turns around and proceeds to apologize--in English, no less!--and bow repeatedly at me while I repeat that it's okay, it's all okay, my leg isn't broken, it's okay. Adorable.

Do you see all the blurry gold behind this gate? That's the altarpiece, and it's mighty difficult to photograph. This calls for a crappy phone shot.

So, we leave the Cathedral and begin making our way to the Alcázar. Let me just tell you, Toledo thought, for some reason, that our walk to the church had been a little, how do I say this... too easy. So it decided to give us a challenge. "What sort of challenge?" I hear you ask. A challenge in the form of really steep hills, so steep that we felt like we were climbing a mountain instead of a street. I'm not exaggerating, there were handles on the walls of houses down this street so people wouldn't just roll down if they tripped. So we're going up this hill, and as soon as I get to the next little flat space, I cower into a covered corner (did I mention how unbearable sunny it was?) and attempt to catch my breath. Kimber soon follows. This whole time, there's a guy taking things out of the trunk of his car all of five feet away from us, and he turns around, looks at us, laughs, and then says, "It's really not fair, is it?" See? Anyway, the point of this story isn't to make you laugh, but to tell you that we really did everything we could to get to the Alcázar and see everything it had to offer. The Fates, however, really did not cooperate. It turns out the times I'd seen online were wrong (more likely, I got confused) and so it was closed when we got there. So, what did we do? We wandered Toledo until it was time to go home. Not too shabby.

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