I Used to Think…Cultural Diversity Part 2

After the last two weeks, I might be a little closer to figuring out what cultural diversity means in Spain. These photos are a mashup of a day trip to Toledo with IES and my recent explorations in Madrid. Toledo is a genuinely multicultural city, as Christians, Jews, and Muslims coexisted peacefully there during a time when they warred elsewhere in the country. Within Madrid, I attended my first-ever flamenco show and played in the city’s most diverse neighborhood. Once again, Spain has left me with a more open mind, saying “I used to think…but now…” Make sure you click on the photos – some have extra descriptions!

Shattering stereotypes at Casa Patas. I'm still not sure what this tapa contained, but it tasted vaguely of Asian spices and pork. This is the first synagogue in which I've ever set foot. I've never once been allowed to forget that even within the Spanish national identity there is a huge amount of cultural diversity. Religious tolerance may tumble through Toledo's streets like an easy breeze, but Spain's dominant Catholicism is ever-present. Have a habit with those churros con chocolate. A classic monastery courtyard...but wait! What's this? Mudejar arches supporting a Catholic institution? Welcome to Toledo. Three faiths, one day trip. You may be thinking that marzipan is irrelevant to cultural diversity, but I'm here to prove you wrong. I walked Lavapiés, Madrid's most diverse neighborhood in terms of ethnicity and nationality, with my intercambio group this morning. Attending a flamenco show has always been at the top of my Spain to-do list, and I finally fulfilled my wish this week. The cobblestone in Toledo's twisting alleys and roads is lined with blue tiles featuring menorahs and Hebrew - reminding visitors that Jews and Catholics did actually coexist in Spain before the expulsion.