Valle de los Caídos, el Escorial, Toledo (otra vez)

Valle de los Caídos, el Escorial, Toledo (otra vez)

Valle de los Caídos


This is the controversial church built into a mountain by war prisoners (who died during the construction and were subsequently buried in the construction in mass graves) during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, who is also buried here. We stayed around for mass. They turned off all the lights while they blessed the Eucharist. The boy choir was good.

El Escorial

This is the palace near Valle de los Caídos where the majority of Spain’s kings and queens are entombed.

If my Latin isn’t too wrong that says, “Blessed is he that lives with a wise woman.”

My favorite part of the palace was the library. It had a bunch of cool paintings including this one of Hercules spitting magic words and his enemies, drawing on a lesser-known tradition that tells of Hercules not only as a physically strong man but one who often fought fearlessly with his words as well.


Toledo Parte Deaux

This is Mariano Zamorano. He’s a blacksmith. So was his dad, and his grandfather, but not his son. He’s missing two fingers from his left hand. He told us that when he was a teenager learning the trade he was working with some kind of machine that you had to feed hot metal into and it flattened it out (I imagine two metal cylinders rolling against each other, but I might be wrong), and the machine got a hold of his fingers and flattened them. He said his fingers reached about a meter, almost reaching the floor when he held his hand at his waist. He said he just stood there, didn’t hurt, didn’t bleed anymore than one drop of blood, the machine had cut the nerves and veins all at once. He just dragged his fingers along the floor over to where his dad was working on something else and said, “¿Papá?”

Cathedral of Toledo:


Typical gift shop of Toledo:

A painting in the el Greco museum of Toledo (which I highly recommend, really loved the paintings of the apostles):

In fact, they inspired this poem (still in the works):

Museo del Greco
The Greco’s done as well with Peter’s Tears
what Auden saw in Brueghel’s Fall.
Opposing sit the twelve with Christ amidst.
Why has he painted some with death in hand:
Bartholomew, the knife, and Ashtaroth
enchained; Phillip, his cross; and Paul, the sword
that would behead him; Jude, the lengthened ax;
Andrew, the ‘x’ in timber and in arms;
while Simon reads without his saw, and John
has got—in a cup—the dragon, Chinese fire
and all, that would have killed him like the two
others condemned to death, but didn’t. Peter
contently holds his keys (this being, I
suppose, well after he had spilt his tears,
somewhere between the shade across a tree,
and Christ’s bowed person, crumpled out in part
because the angel sent to strengthen stands
apart able only to say, “I’m sorry”),
and Jesus inter all looks out, his hand
upon the dark and dreary world that’s ours . . .
I lost my question there. 




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