Sunday, September 06, 2009


When I was last in Madrid two years ago with Mai Li, I had to decide whether to make a day trip to Segovia or to Toledo.  We chose Segovia, which I highly recommend.  It has spacious plazas and monumental sights, including the Alcazar (castle) and, most particularly, the spectacular Roman aqueduct (which I used as the cover to my book).
So, of course, this time I went to Toledo.  Given my limited time, I booked a tour.

Toledo was the capital of Spain before Philip II moved the capital to Madrid in the 16th century.  It is surrounded by steep hills leading down to the Tagus River, a perfect, almost impermeable site for defence, and it is this dramatic location which is its biggest appeal to the photographer.  Naturally, though not entirely apt or fair, I compare it to Segovia.  I'm afraid it comes up short.  The streets are narrow and there are no wide plazas, so it is very difficult to get a sense of location from the ground.  The national cathedral is sited here, and while it is impressive and deserves its reknown, there is nothing in Toledo quite as dramatic as the Segovia aqueduct.  Perhaps Toledo's own alcazar, the other defining silhouette on the city's skyline, would change my mind, but the tour can only include so much and it wasn't on the itinerary.

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