My notes for this day read: "Casey's
tolerance for buildings, pictures, etc. is
wearing thin already--and we have 37
days to go--guess we will make it. Ice
cream tends to perk him up. He spends
5 minutes studying the pictures before
deciding what he wants--the deciding
seems to be as fun as the eating."
Fortunately, I can report that as time
went on, while his love of ice cream did
not diminish, his tolerance for culture
We had promised Casey that we would
find a toy store and get him something
for being so good and patient on the
plane and since arriving in Europe. Of
course, from then on, we had no peace
until we accomplished this. Not finding a
Toys r Us anywhere, we settled on a
little shop that had one row of toys. We
spent a small fortune on a different type
of transformer which Casey found quite
Across from the Hostal Cardenal are a large park and rose garden which are clearly used by Toledans for strolling, weekend activities,
a place to gather and share stories and gossip. There are several kiosks where vendors sell drinks, snacks and ice cream. It is a nice
place to just wander and relax. We had hoped to find a playground but Casey was out of luck this day. At the far end of the park and
across the street, there was a huge building that had originally been a hospital and then a palace, supposedly modeled after the Pitti
Palace in Florence, but, had we not been told this, I would never have guessed the secret. We paid to enter and found ourselves in a
group with a Spanish speaking docent--hardly remarkable as we were in Spain. As the doors were locked to the rooms, we could not
wander at will and so had to join the group, waiting in each room as the docent explained what was in it and its historic significance.
This really tested Casey's patience and endurance. Finally, the guide took pity on us and showed us how to go down the back stairs to
We then crossed the large courtyard to the chapel. It was not very ornate or special until the docent showed us how to go down to the
crypt. There, Casey was fascinated as the acoustics were what a little boy would love. It is a stone circular room with a domed ceiling
and so voices echo well. He was entranced by modulating his voice and listening to the resonance of the echoes. Since no one else was
there, he could do it as loudly and as often as he wanted to. Finally--a diversion for him! He loved it.
Walking back through the park Casey once again talked his way into an ice cream while Ken and I sipped cold drinks and luxuriated in
leisurely people watching. As this is not a tourist place, we were able to see the city people doing their thing. From there we wandered
down the adjacaent streets trying to find something for Casey's dinner, as this was the evening we were splurging on a baby-sitter.
"Hallelujah! No little kicking feet tonight." Found nothing, which is why he had french fries and a roll delivered by room service.
Casey was pleased as he could smother the food in ketchup and then feast. By contrast, Ken and I feasted on true Toledan food--lamb,
pork, mixed fish and vegetable salad plate and some excellent Spanish red wine to wash it down. It was all very good.
The escalator from top to bottom is quite handy; although once at the top you have to walk a bit to get anywhere--especially because we
usually (always?) take a few wrong turns --some how I doubt that we are alone in this learning curve. An advantage of this deficiency is
that we find small plazas, charming narrow streets, tucked away little churches and other special treasures that a straight line from A
to B would cheat us from discovering.
We wanted to see the synagogues which had begun their religious lives as mosques (not uncommon in Spain) and the Casa del Greco
and museum as well as his monumental, mystical masterpiece--The Burial of the Count of Orgaz--which is found in its own small
building attached to the church of Santo Tome. El Greco spent much of his life immortalizing the people and landscapes of Toledo--even
found in his renditions of religious themes such as the crucifixion. Ken and I both observed that most of his people look alike--long,
thin faces and quite skinny, very elongated. His works are fascinating, unique and ethereal but not ones that draw us to him.
While we were at dinner, Casey and Marbella enjoyed the American
classic--Toy Story. This was after she spent time teaching him some
Spanish words, so that when we returned at 22:30 he believed
himself to be bilingual--note that 10:30 is becoming his normal
In the morning we enjoyed our last breakfast in the lovely
breakfast room, packed, retrieved our car and set out for Seville.
Someday we hope to return to Toledo and Spain without our
charming Casey. We adore him and count him a blessing but
missed the ability to explore and develop understandings that give
some sense of the culture we were visiting.