Wednesday, May 07, 2003

If you ever feel the need to buy a sword, Toledo is the place to go.

It is here that they were made for Pizarro´s expedition before he set sail and subsequently wiped out the Inca Kingdom. A great many years earlier this same city also supplied swords to the Christian Crusades heading off to convert the Muslim East.

However times have changed, as a local pensioner kindly pointed out. He informed me that none of the weapons used in the middle east this time around, came from his beloved town. This he said is because the modern armies prefer to use guns instead of swords. He reckoned that there is better money to be made in tourism anyway.

I like Toledo because nothing ever seems to happen there. Toledo is your typical sleepy spanish town where the entire population disappears for their two hour siesta each afternoon. All of the old buildings with their "sword proof doors" are still in use. It really feels as if nothing has changed over the hundreds of years that have passed.

There was a time in Toledo when jewish, muslim and christian communties lived here in complete harmony. As a result of this, synagogues, mosques and churches appear everywhere throughout the walled city. Toledo is especially spectacular as you approach it. It is a fortress built on a steep rock, overlooking the river and all of the surrounding countryside. It really is a breath taking sight.

Toledo is a complete contrast from Madrid in every way possible. I wouldn´t like to live here because of its quietness but will probably make the one hour journey to Toledo quite a few more times in the future.

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