I had the pleasure of visiting Toledo recently with one of my host families. Toledo is about an hour and a half south of Madrid by car and definitely worth it. Toledo is known as bull country. One of the most prominent bull rings sits in coliseum-like glory among the many apartment buildings. What still amazes me about Europe is that you could be living next to an ancient bull ring and think nothing of it. History is a part of life here. Finally finding a parking space (Americans don’t know how good they have it), we headed to a McDonald’s. The novelty is the same but there is one major difference. Beer. Being the American prude that I am, I was astounded. Beer at McDonald’s? Mother of God. My host family had a little laugh as I took a picture. Pilar explained to me that beer is like coke here. You grab it and you go.
After our lunch we headed to the Cathedral of Toledo. As I have said before, I love cathedrals. Like, a lot. This time I was able to visit for over an hour, much to the dismay of the nine and fifteen year old with us. Toledo is also known for the famous El Greco and his paintings. El Greco was an artist from Crete who was captivated by Toledo. He decided to stay and paint on commission. Many of his most famous paintings remain in the sacristy in the Cathedral of Toledo. Outside of the sacristy is a larger than life alter. What is above the alter is the surprise. Cathedrals were designed to become the literal house of God. So that must mean that heaven is close… If you move toward the alter and look directly above, there it is. Heaven. There is a cavern in the ceiling with angels carved around the mouth. The alcove leads to a circular window that lights up the row of saints sitting in the clouds. I apologize for my description, it doesn’t do the real thing justice. Neither does this picture, but I wish to share it all the same.
The air in Toledo is tranquil. Even the stroll on the cobble stones back to the car was pleasant. Laughing and joking, we enjoy each other’s company as the sky turns lavender. It is times like these that I appreciate how lucky I am. Such wonderful adventures with such sweet people.


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