August 11, 2016
Continuing from the previous post of Toledo Trip Part 1.
As we roamed around the area after passing by briefly Teatro de Rojas, we walked through an alley where many souvenir shops are located.
The picture above is a souvenir shop specialised in Damasquinado (or Damasquino), Espaderia (Spades) and Cuchilleria (Knife).
Damasquinado is damascening. Well…this is my first time in my life hearing this word. Well, way to go to gain a new English vocabulary in Toledo.
Damascening is the art of inlaying different metals into one another—typically, gold or silver into a darkly oxidized steel background—to produce intricate patterns similar to niello. Wikipedia.
Honestly, they are really gorgeous!! I think it is worth to bring home as a decoration on the wall. I just couldn’t take my eyes off them whenever I passed down the many Damasquinado shops all around Toledo.
Another souvenirs that Toledo is famous for are swords and blades making. If you are a major fan of the fantasy movie Lord of the Rings series, you definitely should visit Toledo and grab a sword or a blade for souvenir to bring home. (Muka I dah demoksss so kena la mosaic sat…hahaha).
I love the movie but not so much as to gift myself a sword though. ^^
The third thing that makes Toledo famous is Mazapan. Mazapan (or Marzipan in English) is a cookie made of simple ingredients primarily sugar or honey and ground almond.
We did not try them as we were not sure if they are Halal or not. Many confectioneries in Spain contain lard (pig fat) hence we avoid to eat them.
Some of them which are nicely packaged sometimes do list out the ingredients for lard as manteca de cerdo (in Spanish). Above is the infamous Santo Tome cake shop or Pastelería Santo Tomé located at Zocodover Plaza.
I actually ate similar cookies like mazapan from Morocco every year during Eidul fitr or Eidul Adha. Above is the mazapan that we had during the recent Eidul fitr.
Basically all of them taste quite similar but come with different cookie shape. I smell rose water in all of them but my husband said that it was the smell of ground almond.
Actually many countries have their own version of mazapan or Marzipan. Read here more to know the history of mazapan or marzipan.
Another kind of souvenir is Toledo ceramic art. Aren’t they lovely? We came across a tiny ceramic shop near the Jewish Quarter and they have this big sign – Hecho en Toledo (Made in Toledo) outside the shop along with various gorgeous display of their hand made art.
I would love to get one but a man reasoned with his wife – “Toledo is only thirty minutes away from our home so we can always get them next time”. Oh man….~~
Where is the Toledo Cathedral?
We were supposed to find Tourist Information Center but were side-tracked and blinded by these gorgeous crafts and lost our way. Hahaha…
We are the wanderlost..hehe..
Finally we saw the catheral tower and followed the crowd. The catheral is huge and beautiful. We did not miss the chance to snap a few selfies there.
As we were taking our turns snapping pictures in front of Toledo Cathedral, a man came to us and suggested that we followed him to view some artisans making Damasquinado. He told us it was FREE.
Well…I felt uneasy.
Since my husband was with me so we followed him. True to his words, he brought us to the spot. It was underground hence you would not see it even if you pass by the building.
My instinct told me…ahh..he’s trying to sell the souvenirs to us. He’s some what like a promoter looking for tourists in front of the cathedral and directed them to his shop.
The reason I felt uneasy was because I used to work as a tour guide before in South Korea and there, tour guides or promoters normally will direct us to shops which are rather expensive than the one outside.
Well..I was right but my husband insisted that we bought a few as a courtesy because he directed us to this underground shop and for his effort. Oh my husband, why are you so kind?
Artesania Toledana – where we purchased the bracelet.
Our silver plated bracelet costs us 27 euros a piece and after checking out many other shops, it actually costs only 12 euros. We’ve been duped!
Oh well…my husband was the one paying anyway. Women love to compare stuff before they decide to buy one or not which differ with men’s principle. My husband style. When he sees an item, take it or leave it and don’t check out other shops. The predator instinct. Hehe..
After purchasing the souvenirs, we finally headed to our main intention – The Tourist information center. But not before passing by this gorgeous building which I thought was a mosque but actually is a monastery.
Till next post..~~ Insha Allah.