The Alcázar, as seen from afar
Walking up one of Toledo’s many hills to the city entrance
Trees are beginning to bloom
Mosque of Cristo de la Luz
From San Ildefonso’s mirador de las Torres, one can see all of Toledo.
Have you heard of Los Reyes Católicos? If not, you must not have visited many places in Spain, because they are everywhere. The Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, are often credited with the unification of Spain after the Reconquista.
Isabella and Ferdinand built this monastery to celebrate the birth of their son and their victory in an important battle. It was initially meant to be their eventual mausoleum, but they changed their mind and were later buried in Granada.
Tanto monta, monta tanto, the Catholic monarchs’ motto
Of course, Isabella and Ferdinand had a motto: Tanto monta, monta tanto, Isabel como Fernando. What it means: Isabella and Ferdinand were equals. All along the ceilings in San Juan de los Reyes, you can find their initials (F for Fernando and Y for Isabel, as Y was used in the old Spanish).
The Tagus River is the longest in the Iberian peninsula, beginning in central Spain and emptying into the Atlantic ocean near Lisbon, Portugal. Its impact can be heard in Portuguese songs and stories: “My hair getting white, the Tagus is always young.”
Toledo will always have a special place in my heart. I studied abroad there as a 21-year-old junior in college, and its narrow streets hold a mystique that hasn’t been diminished by the years. I still love wandering in and out of shops, catching a glimpse of the Middle Ages or the Renaissance or the Gothic. I love hearing the cathedral bells chimes, eating marzipan, and wondering at the beauty of a city quite unchanged by the passage of time.