8 Dec

I’m not sure if I know anyone who doesn’t like celebrating their birthday. It is the one special day every year that is YOUR day. But at my age, birthdays should be a lot longer. Like a month! And today was the start of that month (actually it started a week before my BIG day) but hey, who’s counting days? Not me!

So today I woke up and where I am staying in Madrid with my wonderful host Sonia, who speaks amazing Aussie as she lived in Melbourne for a year back in 2009! She had left a little surprise for me. I didn’t have time to drink my tea or eat my brie, but I’ll work on that later tonight.What I woke up to this morning is THE best place to find an apartment. See mine by clicking on this link: 

So my birthday trip to Toledo was amazing and what started off very foggy ended up being a lovely 12 degree, sunny day. I won’t bore you with all of the details, but what an amazing place. Gorgeous winding, cobbled streets and a view that reminded me of beautiful Sienna or San Gimignano landscapes in Italy.

I will share with you a few standouts: first how the Kings, Muslims and Christians lived in harmony for so long: unheard of today.

Second, El Greco’s unforgettable paintings are incredible in the Church which is on steroids. The Church took 200 years to build and while my photos don’t do it justice, I found this one to show you how LARGE it is! There is a mix of Gothic, Byzantine and so many other influences, you’ll have to read about in on Wiki: Toledo Cathedral

This is El Greco’s famous painting “Expolio” – no not to be confused with Expelaramus from Harry Potter!


In Toledo’s Church of Santo Tomé, El Greco’s greatest work “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz” hangs. It is pretty amazing considering I am yet to hit Prado museum. This was painted by Greco 200 years after this event supposedly occurred. Two saints came down from well… St Peter is in the picture as well, so you can guess what happened. Greco’s bearded deceased wife is also in there as well! He always liked to paint her with a beard. I know. Why?


What else can I tell you? Well, there are two synagogues in Toledo. We visited Santa Maria la Blanca, with the original ceiling made of Lebanese cedar.

Santa Maria Church

It started off it’s life as a Jewish synagogue but once the Jews were given their leave pass in 1492 (does that year sound familiar)? It became a Catholic Church. While I am a doubter when it comes to religion, the fact remains that these monuments are amazing and worth seeing, especially the Toledo Cathedral. Out of this world really.

And finally, this is my birthday present to myself. The photo doesn’t do it justice but the artisans decorate non-precious metals with gold. I thought these earrings and pendant were pretty. Check out how they make Damascene jewellery .

My birthday present - Toledo Damascene

Well one of my birth ‘day’ celebrations this year has been amazing. Bring on the next. Oh that would be tomorrow! Until then….


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