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Published: September 24th 2021
The view from the Alcazar Castle.
Not all those who wander are lost” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
It was simply bugging the hell out of us....we would talk about it, imagine it, even attempt to make plans in the hopes that we could travel....somewhere. We've somewhat mollified this urge by taking a few trips within the U.S., but we all know that the great thrill is to leave your own country and go visit one you've never seen before. That's the thing, right?
We’ve spent each day for months longing for travel. Attempting to decide if it was safe, if it was the socially responsible thing to do.. …We’ve studied vaccination rates and we’ve studied the U.S. State department website until we exhausted all the information. In the end we selected a country where many residents have been vaccinated -- since we have been vaccinated and since we trust science... here we go....after all, it had been 560 days since we arrived back home after arguably one of our best voyages to Antarctica.
In the end, the decision was made. We'd been conversing with our good friend, Brendan bvchef
and he liked the idea of joining us in the middle of our excursion to
explore Portugal and take a river cruise. More on that later as we planned to leave over two weeks before the cruise. After busily assembling plans on (what is for us) a last minute basis, off we went.....to Spain.
Whether you are a sophisticated foodie or prefer street food you will find comfort in Spain. With little time to prepare for this trip we watched three or four episodes of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations to prepare us for the foods we should order while on this trip. His programs have always fascinated us and really put us in a good mood for the planning process. Of course the Iberian Peninsula nations of Spain and Portugal also have a high degree of interesting history. A perfect match. We had planned on visiting Spain some years later, but the pickings of safe countries to visit (and the ones who would accept Americans) were on the slim side.
We landed in Madrid early in the morning and headed straight for Segovia. We wanted to begin our adventure in a smaller town rather than a large city. In 1985, Unesco deemed this town center a world heritage site so that was good
enough for us. Segovia has been a perfect town to explore while we battle with some jetlag and allow our bodies to adjust. Our hotel is in the town square and you can walk to everything. The brick-laden streets made us so glad to be back on the road again.
From our hearts we can say it feels glorious to wander again. As world travelers, we knew we missed travel, but until you are back on the road again you won't really understand the depth of what has been missing from your life. This is something you just can't measure, but it is large. We are beginning to feel whole again. The narrow streets wind through this quaint town full of amazing architecture. Each street beckons us to take a look around. To poke our heads in shops, cafes, churches and museums. The window boxes are full of color and yet we know fall is on the way and soon the pops of color will fade until next year.
As you drive into town one of the first things you see is the Roman aqueduct. This landmark of Segovia was built in the first century A.D. and is
Views from the aqueduct
Roman aqueduct Segovia, Spain
amazingly well-preserved. It also tells us that this part of Spain is definitely not in an earthquake zone. The pictures can best explain this as it's condition is excellent.
Our hotel is just a stone's throw from the impressive Segovia Cathedral. An imposing structure which took 238 years to build and was one of the last Gothic style churches built in Europe. The construction and opulence of the cathedral demonstrate the power and the deep pockets of the Catholic Church in this area back in the 1600s. It was however, a pleasure to stroll inside the cathedral and take in all the grandeur.
At the end of one of these brick streets you'll find what every European city longs for ..... a storied Castle. The Alcazar's presence allows Its charm to permeate the surrounding city. From the top of the tower we could see hills and mountains near and far. We will continue our research to figure out the names of these ranges.... as we said, we threw this trip together rather quickly. The geography lesson will have to wait. As we wandered the castle we took in the history and were impressed with the room of kings--
each king between 1300 and 1600 are honored in gold on the walls. These riches were gathered during their tenure so they would ensure a resting place on these walls.
One morning as we left our hotel we found a street market had popped up filling the town square with a dozen vendors. In the afternoon, when we returned from our exploring we watched the vendors break down and the garbage men and street cleaners swooped in the make everything beautiful again. We were mesmerized by the street cleaning machine that vacuums up trash and then spray washes the streets. We need to get a few more of these in the U.S.
In the evenings, while we sipped adult beverages, we enjoyed watching locals going about their day. We had a great location where the buses would come up one street and making a 140 degree turn onto the next street. We would hold our breath as we watched. It is amazing that one bus after another could accomplish this without incident. The walls of the buildings were very close to the outside of the bus. It was a sight to see!
If the rest of Spain
ends up being like Segovia we will continue to feel very comfortable. Everyone is wearing masks indoors and outside. The town is not overrun with visitors so everyone is able to keep a distance.
Upon entering Spain we needed to show our COVID vaccination cards and the QR code which we received from filling out the online form. The process was quick and easy. The staff at the Madrid airport moved swiftly and we were through customs and had our luggage about 35 minutes after landing.
We've begun to sample tapas and so far our favorite has been the red pepper stuffed with crab and smothered in a sinful sauce.
Time to press on to our next destination......Valencia!
Where we stayed: Hotel Infanta Isabel
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