Toledo and the Cathedral of Bling: Madrid Daytrips Part 1
Toledo should top any list of Madrid daytrips. Of course, Cassie disagrees and thinks Segovia is a better Madrid daytrip, which explains why we have a Part 1 and (will soon have) a Part 2. In my opinion, there are other great cities around the Spanish capital, but none have quite the – what’s the word I’m looking for? – bling! of Toledo.
The main attraction in Toledo is naturally the church. Technically, it’s name is Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo. They should shorten that to the Cathedral of Bling. It has a great ring to it, and the name will connect on an emotional level with the inner city youth of the world.
BEHOLD THE CATHEDRAL OF BLING
Every square inch of this church is covered in artwork from every possible material – wood, alabaster, gold, silver, marble, and more. The audioguide is included in the cost of admission (11 euro), and it does a great job of explaining why everything here is so ornate and how many generations of workers it took to finish the cathedral. The church was started in 1227 and took 266 years to finish. In comparison, America is 237 years old.
This church is, for lack of a better word, baller. And the coup d’etat is the Great Monstrance of Arfe. It’s a 10-foot tall monstrosity of gold and silver. Wikipedia defines a monstrance as a vessel used to display the consecrated Eucharistic host. I have no clue what that means. Literally, none. But the Great Monstrance of Arfe makes the crown jewels of England look cheap. It’s brought out once a year during the feast of Corpus Christi of Toledo. This monstrance is so impressive that I will plan a future trip around this holiday so I can see this out in the open.
Hopefully by then, the Cathedral will accept my suggestion and rename this the Blingiest Bling of the Bling. And yes, of course I have better words than baller. But it fits in with the Cathedral of Bling theme.
DON QUIXOTE: MAN OF LA MANCHA
Chances are if you’re not in the cathedral itself, you’re standing either in or near a kitschy tourist shop that sells something related to Don Quixote. The fictional knight of legend crossed through Toledo in his travels, so every store apparently is required to sell Don Quixote memorabilia. It’s cheesy in an endearing kind of way, and it’s certainly fun to look at all the silly products they have merchandised from the old tales. This is also a great place to buy an inexpensive souvenir of your travels through southern Spain.
A FEW MORE MADRID DAYTRIP THOUGHTS
For a decent view of the city from above, you can enter the library and take an elevator to the top of one of the towers. The view isn’t spectacular, but it’s worth a 10 minute detour. We chose to get another view from above at Iglesia de los Jesuitas for 3 euro. We took the stairs up one of the towers and were treated to wonderful view of the Cathedral of Bling and the library.
I hate to say this, but the Jewish museum in the ancient synagogue, El Transito Synagogue, wasn’t particularly fascinating. It’s 3 euro a person to enter, and there’s not too much to see. Toledo has a rich Jewish history, but that’s not reflected all that well in this museum. By all means, if you disagree, let us know.
GETTING TO TOLEDO
This is an easy Madrid daytrip. We grabbed a bus from Plaza Eliptica for about 9 euro a person. The trip takes about 50 minutes, and then it’s a 15 minute walk into Toledo from the bus station.
The cathedral is 11 euro and you can easily spend a few hours in there. Then wander around town, enjoy how quiet it is compared to Madrid, and soak in the history here. Depending on how much you eat and drink (and what else you choose to do), you can be in and out of Toledo for about 25 euro, making it a perfect Madrid daytrip.
Next up – Segovia: The Other Great Madrid daytrip!
Want to find some bling with us? Click here.
Check out our Toledo gallery.