La Vida Toledana: Week 1

     As part of my Spanish major at OU, I’m studying abroad in Toledo, Spain this spring. Roughly an hour southwest of Madrid, this beautiful city is a treasure chest of history. Inside the medieval walls of el Casco Histórico, every step touches an epoch much older than the founding of our United States. The city is packed with cathedrals, monasteries, convents, synagogues and mosques—architecturally, it’s quite a sight to behold. 

     Outside, you can find even more archaic remnants of human design: ruins of a Roman circus and aqueduct. The color and character of the buildings and streets allow me to see past the vastly commercial tourism that abounds in this city. In quiet plazas, however, the bird population seems to narrate the vast cultural importance of Toledo, chirping, cooing history from each steeple and perch.

We have class in a building that once housed the Inquisition.

El Río Tajo… In English it’s much uglier: “The Tagus River”

Koker, a women’s fashion store, is built on top of 1st Century Roman ruins.

Glass floors allow shoppers to gaze down on a settlement from the time of Jesus Christ.

Where else can you walk among Roman ruins in a park?

     Once a tolerant community in which Christians, Jews and Muslims all thrived, commingling architecture and culture, Toledo was later home to the infamous Spanish Inquisition and a bastion of the Spanish military. Today, it is a bustling labyrinth of handsome buildings, blanketed in beautifully scattered light from largely cloudless skies—it truly feels like a dream.

     I’ve adjusted to the 6-hour time difference, but I’m still marveling at my surroundings. Slightly bewildered by the bus system, I’m taking every day in stride and enjoying every little moment of the adventure. It seems unreal that this is only the first week of what will be four months of new experiences and memories. I hope by keeping this blog I can share a glimpse of the beauty I’m finding here and inspire similar joie de vivre in you. ¡Hasta pronto!

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