04 October 2009
I finished my exams on Wednesday (I think they went pretty well) and I didn't have class until Monday. I figured this would be the perfect time for a few day trips from Madrid. It has been a really busy break, but it's been so fun.
First on Thursday I relaxed a little bit and then went dancing that night. It was so fun and we stayed until the place closed at 5:30am. BUT I had to get up at 9am to go to Toledo. That was a little rough, but I'm so glad I sucked it up and went.
Toledo is a beautiful, quaint town about 30 minutes south of Madrid by train. It has a city wall and a ton of history.
I ended up going with 5 guys from the program. They spent part of the day trying to say as many gross things as possible since I was the only girl. Ridiculous.
First we grabbed lunch at an amazing Syrian restaurant. Then we went and visited the Catedral de Toledo.
It has a beautiful exterior in the romanico style. Sorry I know a ton of architecture vocab now but it's all in Spanish so try and go with me on this one. The arched, massive door, or la portada, was absolutely stunning.
Inside the cathedral there was a tiny museum. I didn't really expect much because it's a church not an art museum, but I underestimated. Almost every painting in the place was from a major artist. I don't know that much about art, but I recognized almost every painter. el Greco, Goya, Velazques, Rubens, Titian, Van Dyck. WOW!
As a side note, Toledo was also the home of Cervantes, the famous author of Don Quixote. So there are statues of him everywhere.
Then we headed to El Museo de Santo Cruz. There were supposed to be 18 paintings by El Greco there, but unfortunately there were in Mexico, but the architecture of the building was a really interesting mix of Renaissance and Muslim. So it was still kind of cool.
After the museum, we went to the la Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz. It was built in 1000. CRAZY old! I just can't believe that a building that old still exists. It was really cool to see the mixing of cultures in the structure. There were columns that date back to the visigoths, roman corinthian columns, and lobulado muslim arches. It was a grab bag of ancient architecture. I mean even the name reveals the cultural mixing.
We ended the day in a bar hearing the announcement that Madrid didn't get the olympic games. That was a little sad, but the bartender was quite a character so it was still fun. On the way to the train station I got a great image of the bridge and river surrounding Toledo. It was a wonderful day.
Then I went dancing until 4:30am again. I told you this weekend was epic. Then that morning on Saturday, I went to el Escorial. It is a military fort, monastery, and royal residence all in one. It dates back to the end of the 16th century, and was built during the time of the Inquisition. It is supposed to reveal the power of Spain. It is dedicated to San Lorenzo who was burned to death on a grill. So the symbol of the grill is all over the structure and it is shaped like a grill. But my camera died about 5 minutes into this trip so I only have a few pictures of the outside.
And Saturday night I went dancing. Basically my weekend consisted of dancing and tourism. It was great, but I'm exhausted. I start classes tomorrow so wish me luck!