Europe, Journal, Toledo

South African In: Toledo


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4 Months ago while I was in Europe, I took a trip to Toledo. It’s a small village south of Madrid in Spain. It’s an official UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its sheer history and beauty. It has a famous history in the production of bladed weapons, which are now popular souvenirs of the city.

The manufacture of swords in Toledo goes back to Roman times, but it was under Moorish rule and during the Reconquista that Toledo and its guild of sword-makers played a key role. Between the 15th and 17th centuries the Toledo sword-making industry enjoyed a great boom, to the point where its products came to be regarded as the best in Europe. I remember arriving at dusk on a stunning June evening with my mom. We enjoyed a welcome drink of their famous Sangria and Mediterranean dish, Paella (all of Spain are well-known for these two things!) The village is also very well-known for its production of Marzipan, which was started by a group of Nuns in the 16th Century who were looking to make a sweet treat! Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar or honey and almond meal, sometimes augmented with almond oil or extract. Many of the sweet shop windows have displays with the nuns at work with almonds – very cute! I truly enjoyed the cobblestone streets and souvenir shops dotted throughout every alleyway. Two of the highlights for me of our weekend stay here was tasting a Marzipan treat and visiting the house of famous artist El Greco.

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