Sunday, October 02, 2005

Toledo and The Prado

On Friday, while I was enjoying the slightly-sweet goodness of duck and couscous, I missed a café meeting of those of us who are doing independent research. It was just a casual get-together, but I had intended to go. The thought of finally eating at the Finca, apparently, replaced my plans of discussing unintelligible manuscripts, the vagaries of the National Historical Archives (AHN), and how on earth one manages to get one's act sufficiently together to write a dissertation. Did I mention that the Postre de Timbaon involves caramelization?

Yesterday, thanks to the planning of Wan, one of the Fulbrighters, I went to Toledo (there had been a trip to Segovia a couple of weekends ago planned by another Fulbrighter, but I hadn't gone, since I'd been both jetlagged and on a crackers-and-soda diet, since I wasn't feeling well.) The bus trip was a hair shorter than an hour on the way there, and an hour and a half on the way back to Madrid, since that bus, apparently, was the local. In Toledo, there are a handful of things to see, some of which I didn't, so I need to go back. Some of the things that I did see were the Transito Synagogue/Sephardic Museum, El Greco's Burial of the Count of Orgaz at the Church of Santo Tomé, and the cathedral. The alcazar is closed until 2007, and it was closed last time I went to Toledo (in 2002), too. The Santa María La Blanca Synagogue was closed when I got to it, and everyone was getting antsy to go home, so I didn't go to the El Greco house/museum this time (but I had gone in 2002; there are plenty of his paintings in the cathedral. The Plan and View of Toledo is in the museum, and that's worth going back for.)

They have marzipan in Toledo. I ate some. It wasn't as good as the kind my aunt Eugenia makes, but it was alright. It's just a different kind of marzipan. Also, given that this country is so obsessed with ham and pork products, it was no surprise that they have ham-shaped marzipan here. My aunt makes marzipan that looks like little carrots and potatoes, so there's obviously some sort of tradition of marzipan approximating savory food. Can anyone think of another dessert food that poses as a main? I suppose that there is the occasional novelty pizza, but in a general sense, I can't think of another. Zora? Brother? Katy? Suggestions?

Today, I went to the Prado and saw an exhibition on the painting program of Philip IV's Buen Retiro Palace, and then went and saw Goya's Black Paintings and his 1808 Civil War paintings.
I ended my visit with a trip downstairs to look at stuff by Joachim Patinir, Hieronymous Bosch and Albrecht Dürer. I didn't look at the entire Velázquez collection, but there was a good handful of his stuff in the Philip IV exhibition (a couple of Philip IV equestrian portraits, a couple of portraits of Baltazar Carlos, a couple of portraits of court jesters, and The Surrender of Breda). Las Meninas was (were?) in the next room over, but I didn't go into that area at all, since The Prado is only a twenty-minute stroll from where I'm living. I plan on getting over there at least three more times before I head out of town at the end of next month.


Anonymous katy said...

Well, there is this:

Let's don't stand in judgment of the Spanish having bizarre tastes in sweets ...

12:48 PM  
Blogger AV said...

Hi, Katy--
Wait until I post about yemas de Avila (soon. within an entry or two ...)

8:49 AM  
Blogger anyblock said...

What about cereal bars which pose as real breakfast when they are in fact little more than glorified fig newton knock offs.

5:01 PM  

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