Anne adds more detail to our final day:
So our last day in Toledo was full of sight-seeing, the quest for convent marzipan & last minute shopping. We hit the town abt 10am & didn’t head home til after 7pm.
We saw a lot more churches, went to the Museum of Jewish Culture & saw an exhibit on the Templars. Unfortunately, it was all in Spanish so we didn’t get as much out of it as we would have liked. A cool story but couldn’t get a lot of it.
We did an olive oil tasting, stopped for cafe con leche a few times, had spaghetti for lunch & walked around the parts of town we missed from before.
The marzipan experience was cool. Eleanor really drove it & I’m glad she did b/c it was definitely a highlight. Apparently the nuns in the local convents make & sell marzipan but only at certain times in certain convents. You have to look for a small sign that says “Dulce Artesanal” and pointing to a door. You then ring a bell & wait to be let into a foyer where there’s another small door and a picture/sign showing the types of marzipan and the prices. A nun them comes to the sm door & asks what you want. Sometimes you see the nun behind a grate, sometimes it’s just a voice that asks what you want. Eleanor heard that you were supposed to say something abt the Blessed Virgin Mary before you order so she said “Hail Purest Mary” (in Spanish) & they responded with something. There’s a turnstile/lazy susan where you place your money & they put the marzipan. It was very cool. In total we visited 5 & bought from 3. So clearly everyone will be getting marzipan as a gift.
The churches we visited were very cool & each very different. I’ll have some pictures to show. Some had lots of paintings, some carvings, some frescos, etc but very different personalities.
One thing we learned is that even though Toledo started as a town of “multiple faiths living in harmony” that ended in abt the 11th century when all the Moors (Muslims) & Jews were kicked out & their religious sites turned into churches. There’s not much of their culture left (more Jewish than Muslim) but it’s nice to think abt everyone living together in one community.
The day ended with dinner at The Parador a national historic hotel just outside the city. The view from the Parador onto Toledo was spectacular as it is one of the most beautifully lit cities in the world. Dinner was great, but a lot of food. I had day-old fried bread w/ sausage, egg & ham as an appetizer and a steak for main course. Ali had Iberia pork & El had lamb stew. I had “leche frita” for dessert which tasted like french toast. We ended the night looking over the city before cramming our treasures in our suitcases before our trip home today.