Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Toledo Day Trip

Lest readers think that I hate art given my review of the Prado, I can assure it is not true.  I just didn’t like the style of art in the Prado and I pretty much knew that going in.  The same thing was true years ago in Amsterdam in regards to the Riijksmuseum.  I knew I didn’t particularly care for the “Dutch Masters” but it is hard to not go and see given the reputation of the institution.

Before leaving Madrid, I knew I wanted to visit the Thyssen-Bornemisza.  The second of the “big three” art museums in Madrid, this collection spans a wide range of the art continuum from old masters to impressionism to the Hudson River school to modern art.  In other words, there is something here for almost anyone’s taste in art making it many people’s, favorite in Madrid.  Obviously, I am firmly in this camp [I’m not even going to the Reina Sofia, the museo de modern art as I already know how that will be].

Having exhausted most of the things I wanted to do in Madrid, I took a quick daytrip to Toledo – a 30 minute trip by high speed rail – departing from the nearby Atocha station.  Toledo is famous for its pivotal role in Spanish history with influences from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions.  Toledo was a much more important city in central Spain than Madrid for most of its existence.  Built on a massive crag and surrounded on three sides by the Tagus river, it was a strongly fortified city that experienced many a siege.

It is also the origin of the phrase “Holy Toledo!”  The cathedral in Toledo is one of the more spectacular ones I have seen, at least on the interior.


It is hard to take in the exterior as it is surrounded by buildings all bunched up against it.  But, the altar, the choir, the Transparency, and the overall effect of the building is as impressive as I have seen around the world.  Pictures really don’t do it justice.

The rest of the time in Toledo can easily be spent walking the narrow alleys of cobblestone streets and looking in on the famous swords and blades of Toledo lore.  It is really worth a day trip from Madrid, if you have any time to spare.


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