It is impossible to go to Toledo without thinking of El Greco, and once there it is impossible to escape his influence. Although born in Crete and trained in Italy, El Greco is most closely identified with the city he came to in 1577 and where he died in 1614.
The parador in Toledo is a short drive south of the city, making it a somewhat inconvenient place to stay if you want to walk the city at night. We highly recommend a visit to the parador for lunch, however, both for the splendid food and for the view overlooking the city. Parador Nacional Conde de Orgaz, named for the subject of one of El Greco's most famous paintings, is located near the spot where El Greco painted his masterpiece 'View of Toledo.' Since the city is so well preserved, the panorama is little changed since his time.
After a hot morning spent walking the hilly streets of Toledo, the comfortable, air-conditioned dining room at the parador was a welcome respite. We enjoyed a light lunch accompanied by a dry, refreshing white wine from the Rioja Alta region, Vino Blanco Seco 1996 from the Marques de Caceres bodega. The parador served very good gazpacho andaluz and we also recommend a delicious dish, lomo de venado con pure de frembrusa, which is tender medallions of venison with a raspberry sauce.
PARADOR NACIONAL CONDE DE ORGAZ, CERRO DEL EMPERADOR, TOLEDO
Located just inside the north walls of Toledo is a restaurant we recommend for dinner, Hostal del Cardenal, which also doubles as a hotel. Hostal del Cardenal is run by the same people who own the famed Botin Restaurant in Madrid, which was frequented by Ernest Hemingway. The house specialty is cochinillo, roast suckling pig, which is worth trying here.
HOSTAL DEL CARDENAL, PASEO DE RACAREDO, 24, TOLEDO
We stayed at a hotel just a few blocks outside the northern entrance to the city, the Hotel Maria Cristina. The hotel doesn't have much atmosphere but is clean, inexpensive, conveniently located, and has parking on the premises, which is highly valued in Toledo.
MARIA CRISTINA HOTEL, MARQUES DE MEDIOGORRIA, 1, TOLEDO