What Is Toledo Famous For? The Tackiest Tourist Tat You’ve Ever Seen!

Back in January, I went on a shopping expedition around the old town, for the purpose of picking up a few gifts for my friends in Key West. But it proved to be mission impossible. Despite a plethora of ‘gifty’ type souvenir shops, I could not turn up anything that would have made an adequate present for people who matter to me.

It struck me that, even though Key West is as touristy a place as you’ll find anywhere on the planet, with its fair share of vulgar tat,  its shops are also full of beautiful things. Shopping for trinkets in Key West may be a tad expensive,  but, nevertheless, trash and genuinely pretty stuff manage to coexist side-by-side. But not in Toledo.

I’ll show you what I mean. Cling onto your seats. You might want to inch your sunglasses into combat position.

The first couple of pics are just a gentle warm-up:

Toledo Souvenir ShopToledo Souvenir Shop

Get the idea? Still with me….???

Not sure if you’re quite prepared for what’s to come. The next one has been unanimously declared as the pinnacle of bad taste by everyone I know who lives here. Up until a few months ago, this was a shoe shop, but now it’s a grotto dedicated to technicolour ghastliness, guarded by this monstrosity:

Yup. A stuffed bull. People stop and pose for photographs. How can anyone go in there and not barf?!?

Yup. A stuffed bull. People stop and pose for photographs. How can anyone go in there and not barf?!?

Run-of-the-mill junk

Run-of-the-mill junk

€27.50 for a crappy flamenco doll? Just who would spend their money on that?!? Whoooo???

€27.50 for a lurid flamenco doll? Just who would spend their money on that?!? Whoooo???

Ditto those diabolical dresses. Nothing against flamenco dresses per se, they could be really stylish, but these garish plastic contraptions are about as well-made and appealing as refuse sacks

Ditto those bilious dresses. Nothing against flamenco dresses per se, they could be really stylish, especially with 80s ra-ra skirts back in style, but these garish by-products of the petrochemicals industry are about as appealing as refuse sacks

If you're a Red Cross nurse looking to pick up a sprightly young doctor in a combat zone, then this is the shop for you

If you’re a Red Cross nurse looking to pick up a sprightly young doctor in a combat zone, then this is the shop for you

Words fail me

Words fail me

Toledo Ceramics

This shop actually has four windows, but I shall spare you the last one

This shop actually has four windows, but I shall spare you the last one. Maybe we could divert some of those infamous Spanish bull races through here???

God may forgive all sins. But surely, NOT THIS!

God may forgive all sins. But surely, NOT THIS!

As it happens, today I was having breakfast with a couple of local friends, one of whom mentioned that she’d just been into Madrid to buy a couple of birthday presents, because “you can’t get anything nice in Toledo”.

This town, like the much of the rest of Spain, is in the throws of an abysmal economic crisis. I do wonder to what extent the failure to provide simple things, like decent gift articles, is contributing to this sorry state of affairs.

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18 thoughts on “What Is Toledo Famous For? The Tackiest Tourist Tat You’ve Ever Seen!

  1. Kristin

    Haha, first I thought those photos might be taken here, but those windows look far too neat for Mexico… Aren’t we lucky we are not constantly tempted to go shopping all day long? 😉

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  2. Anna

    I love it all! Tacky souvenir shopping is one of my favorite travel activities! My bff was pregnant with her first when I was studying in Spain, and I got baby/kid t-shirts from every town I visited, in sizes from infant to 6yo.

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  3. linnetmoss

    Love the female crusader garb! And in spite of being an atheist, I have a weakness for schlocky Catholica, holy cards, tiny statues, pendants. I would probably be tempted by the pseudo-relicarios…

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