Toledo

Built atop a hill and surrounded on three sides by the Tagus river, Toledo got settled in the Bronze age. The Romans built the walls and bridges. It was conquered by the Caliphate of Cordoba, and reconquered by Christians in the early 1000s. Toledo-made swords were considered the best in Europe. Today it's marzipan is considered the best in Europe.
 
 
Religious procession. Somehow I'm always surprised to see this in Europe, it makes me think of India. Does anyone do this in the US? The halo around the Vigin makes me think of similar around statues of Nataraja. The crescent looks Islamic. I guess this is a real event. The old part of Toledo is almost 100% touristville--the modern town sprawls below it on the non-river-surrounded side. So got used to thinking everything is a tourist event.
The Cathedral of Toledo was consecreated in 587. Later it was torn down for a mosque. In 1087, Alphonso VI tore down the mosque and built this cathedral.
Here's where I had my Big Meltdown. It was day 3 of the trip, I'd taken the train here from Madrid and spent the morning wandering up and down hills. I simply forgot to eat lunch. And waking up at 7AM and 2PM on anternate days. At any rate, I suddenly got slammed with the run-down-the-streets-screaming kind of panic I haven't had since 2002. Because the antidepressants normally keep attacks mild, I'd left my emergency stash of Xanax back in Madrid.  So I sat in the Cathredal and meditated, gradually eliminating all thoughts and all feelings from my consciousness. After a couple of hours, it got the point where I could function, so I finished out the day.

That was Wednesday.  On Friday, after three days of aftershocks and flashbacks, I decided to write off the trip and head back...and ran straight into the United reservations crash. In retrospect, I'm grateful I had to stay. This trip took a big chunk out of my reserves.
My next character? I'll be a Paladin and annoy the hell out of everyone with my righteousness. (Hey, this font is called Trebuchet!) The Big Panic wasn't the only thing that went wrong on this trip. Consider: I ate something (bad seafood?) and ended up hurling on the Madrid Metro. (Fortunately on an escalator rather than in a car--was trying to make it to the street.) Was trying to make the flight to Barcelona when the Metro farecard machine at my credit card. Arrived in Barcelona without enough case for a taxi because the ATM wouldn't recognize my code, and the currency exchange would only do cash-to-cash transactions. Lost my glasses on the Barcelona subway. I could keep going.  In short, the trip was more stressful than work.

It's like the story of the guy who complained to the rabbi that he was miserable.  The rabbi had him move one farm animal a week into the house. Then after a month he had him move them all out. At any rate, I'm glad I had the experience and I didn't mind going back to work. (Actually, I only went back to work in principle. My overhead project got canned while I was away, and the first week back I had virtually nothing to do but move out of my Chantilly office--I'm back to working downtown now.)
Keygator
Vacuumingo
Guard dog monitors the situation.
This lady looks like she has a headache. She must not have spent Sunday afternoons watching back-to-back horror movies with her father.
From eating at Jaleo in DC, I'd gotten the idea that Spanish food is gourmet food. But tapas in Toledo sucked--tuna that might as well have been Starkist, olives that tasted like the refrigerator.
Toledo is a maze of twisty streets, all different.
This was possibly El Greco's house, although it's debatable. When he moved to Toledo, he found that artists were considered artisans and paid accordingly. To make ends meet, he became a portrait painter for nobles. There are several dozen of these in the house. (If these were all he'd done, he'd be forgotten.)
Avila