Written by Marissa Mejia ’19 to recount Monday, March 12, 2018:
Today, we visited Toledo, the first capital of the Spanish Empire! Fun Fact: Toledo is one of the few cities where three cultures (Muslim, Christian, and Jewish) all live together in peace (Holy Toledo!). Upon arrival, we took a panoramic bus tour around the city before embarking on a tour that, according to my Health app, was worth about 27 flights of stairs. Those of us who are missing sports practices today definitely got our workout in!
Although Toledo was founded in 192 B.C. by the Romans, little Roman architecture remains. We were, however, able to climb a wall built by the Muslims in the 9th century that has prevented the city from being taken by arms ever since. Throughout our tour, we were greeted by the beautiful sounds of church bells that were often interrupted by people shouting “Coche!” (“Car!”) followed by everyone frantically flattening against the walls as cars zoomed past and squeezed through impossibly narrow pathways. We also saw many examples of “trampa del ojo” or “trick of the eye” architecture, where brick buildings were covered in plaster that was painted to look like decorative stone. Even after our tour guide pointed out this clever painting technique, it was difficult to see that we were not really looking at real stone. We were also able to visit a church that was repurposed into a lavish discoteca (imagine partying in a church!), as well as “La Casa del Judío” (the Jewish House) an underground meeting place for Jews during the Spanish Inquisition. We ended the day with a little over an hour of free time during which many students bought scrumptious foods (including delicious Nutella crepes – 11/10 recommend), went shopping, and visited the Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo. 10,000 square meters in size with an absolutely breathtaking array of artwork and architecture, Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo is the main and second largest cathedral in Spain. Upon entering, one cannot help but exclaim, “Holy Toledo!”. Even though we will be sore tomorrow, today was an amazing day and I toleDON’T ever want to leave Spain!