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Toledo

Waiters stack chairs and drop awnings as midnight approaches, but Toledo’s shadowy mystique lingers until dawn.
Photograph by Theo Westenberger

Toledo

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In perhaps the most unusual travel story you’ll read this year, Canadian writer Taras Grescoe follows in the footsteps of movie director Luis Buñuel, the surrealist who applied his sense of the odd not only to his movies (Belle de Jour, for one) but to his life. He founded the Order of Toledo in the 1920s, declaring that the criteria for membership in this mock medieval fraternity were to “adore Toledo without reservation, drink for at least an entire night, and wander aimlessly through the streets of the city.”

Toledo

Lightning illuminates Toledo’s turreted Alcázar fortress, scene of fierce fighting during the Spanish Civil War.
Photograph by Theo Westenberger

Rising to the challenge—as Salvador Dali, Federico García Lorca, and Colette had done decades before—Grescoe prowls the sleepy Spanish city, getting lost in a tangle of tiny streets as well as his thoughts. He comes to know—and sense—the city in a way no day-tripper ever could.

Read “All Night Long” in the September 1999 issue of TRAVELER.

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