Spain 6 - An aqueduct, a fairy tale castle and a stunning cathedral

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September 9th 2013
Published: September 9th 2013
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The cathedral
Camping Aqueducto. This is the only camping site anywhere near to the city of Sergovia. Reception was open when we arrived and we were directed to pitch 36. We could pay when we left. The lovely receptionist with a smile on her face gave us a map of the city and a map showing where the bus stop was. It seemed to be just across the road about 150 metres away. The cost of the bus fare into Segovia was 1 euro each for the single journey. It’s nice to know the price before you board the bus rather than be confused and pay too much as we did in Zadar. The bus map gave the times of the buses . Every 15 mins on a working day and 30 at a weekend

Our plot was fairly large and the campsite was almost empty. Our neighbours for the night an Irish couple in an old motorhome, he looking like a member of ZZ top and an Hells Angel. There was WiFi on site at 2 euros but only around reception, a bar selling sangria which appeared to be closed and a wash room with washing machine. When you get to
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Inside the cathedral
a campsite with a washing machine you sometimes get very excited and today was no exception. There was washing to be done and I took advantage of the hot sunny weather to dry it.

Before I had chance to go in the swimming pool the weather changed. It went black over Bills mothers, the wind came up and the rain came in. With the rain thunder booming overhead the awning and chairs had to be brought in pronto. The showers were clean but only had two sets of shower curtains between you and the outside world. If you were too modest they were not very appealing .And the water was freezing when I tried them. All in all though a good site and very quiet. The pool was freezing cold when I did come to try it. .

Our last job of the day was to go to the Supermercado and stock up on some more wine, cooked chicken, bread and croissants.

Saturday dawned and we are in to our second week of the holiday. Suzy was parked up and we had a very peaceful nights sleep. Over breakfast we watched rabbits in the nearby field. The
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In the cloisters in the cathedral
mountains in the distance were shrouded in early morning mist.

Before leaving for Segovia I tried the showers again and this time hot water.

We missed the first bus which we saw sailing into the distance and pondered which side of the road we should stand. Having made up our minds we were reminded of Split when we stood on the wrong side and watched the bus sail by without us. This time we were more careful. The number 5 rolled up with Colon (our stop) on the front and we hopped on paying our 1 euro fare. The journey in took about 15 mins or so as we seemed to stop to pick up passengers at every stop. I had expected a big bus station but we were set off on a street and this would be where we would get the bus back to our campsite.

Walking from the bus stop we entered the Plaza Mayor the main square of the city. It had a bandstand in the middle and plane trees around the edge. Cafes and restaurants spilt out onto the street. The city was empty as we walked across the square to the
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A bishops cope
cathedral which was beautiful , quite different to what we normally see and dominated the area. Sergovia is set on a hill and surrounded by two rivers – the Rio Eresma and the Rio Clamores. The cathedral built of mellow stone in 1525 was consecrated in 1678 and is said to be the last great Gothic church to be built in Spain. We paid 2 euros each at Jubilados rate to go in. I still haven’t quite worked out what age you need to be to qualify as a Jubilados and guess it might be 65. I ask and if anyone queries it then Glenn qualifies but I have to pay full price. The inside of the cathedral is very lofty, airy and elegantly vaulted. There are many side chapels all around the perimeter, all with Baroque style altarpieces. Each one dedicated to a different saint than its neighbour. We looked in some of them and admired the workmanship, others we walked by. The most interesting part of the cathedral has for us to be the cloisters which were moved stone by stone from the old cathedral which was destroyed in 1525 during a revolt of the Castilian towns. The
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Street Life
arches and doorways inside intricate but dainty at the same time and a cooling garden in the middle. This part of the cathedral houses the museum with its gold and silver treasures. Bits of bone of some saint or another held in an intricately carved and gilded reliquary. And tapestries – Belgian – adorn the walls.

As we left the tours started to arrive so we were lucky to get the place to ourselves. A quiet time to contemplate before the hoards rushed in.

We walked down the pretty little narrow streets all lined with shops to the Alcazar the castle which rises sheerly above the crags. A fairy fantasy building with turrets, crennalations and gabled roofs. Entry fee was 5.50 euros for me and 4.50 for Glenn. This time I was too young to be a jubilado. Before we went in we decided to have a coffee and a piece of our favourite potato pie which finally got a name – Tortilla de potato.

The castle itself is not that old. The present building dates from reconstruction in 1862 after a disastrous fire. There was a museum of weaponry as you go in but nothing in
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The Alcazar
English to tell you what each exhibit was. Guesswork was required in parts. The rooms themselves were elaborately decorated with tiles of many colours on the lower walls, highly ornate ceilings and dark oak furniture. From each window a magical view of the yellow fields beyond punctuated with green trees. We were to find out why the area has so many green trees later in the day.

We climbed to the top of the Torre which was included in our ticket price. Step after step I lost count after a while. Out of puff at the top it was nice to stop and admire the view. We got talking to an American lady who had climbed up on her own leaving her friend at the bottom. She was on a whistle stop tour of Spain. When we got to the bottom we met her friend and chatted for a while. She was over from California and loved Europe. Her daughter lived in England and she told us she often caught the train up to Derby and that her daughter lived not 20 miles from where Glenn had been born. Once again we thought what a small world to meet
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Ceilings in the Alcazar
someone in Spain who was from the USA but had relatives just on our doorstep.

Around the city were other churches but we did not spend time in them . Instead as it was warm we sat in a café drinking coca cola and trying out tapas, bread, ham, tomatoes and small pizza slices with olive.

I found a stall selling lacy crocheted jackets. One was black with colourful flowers similar to a scarf I bought in Venice a few years ago. The others were black with silver beads and long sleeves. Perfect I thought for wearing with black trousers and a black top. I haggled – the lady wanted 20euros I thought it not worth that. In the end she came down to 12 euros which seemed a fairer price. Now this is where you feel that you were swindled and sad that someone can try to pull a fast one over you. She showed me the top, turned her back to me and put it in the bag. Glenn thought it odd and I checked it was the right top. Well at least I checked the colour and that was right however when I got home
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a golden ceiling in the Alcazar
and pulled it out of the bag it was not the jacket top I had picked but something that I can only describe as a overdress which came down to my knees. It looked Ok and I will wear it but I was sad to think that she did it on purpose. Perhaps she picked the wrong one up or there again she saw me coming!! I shall check the bags more thoroughily next time. Ah well you live and learn.

Our last stop of the day was the Aquaduct such an imposing feature – the first you see from the bus on the way in. Built by the Romans in the 1st century AD it was used to channel water from the Rio Frio which was filtered through tanks to provide Segovia with water. There are two tiers of arches in a different style to the acquaduct at Pont de Gard in France. The length of the aqueduct was 728 metres or 2,400 feet and two tiers of arches were needed to cope with the gradients. The maximum height of the aquaduct is 95 feet and we climbed to the top. A wonderful feat of engineering which only
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Ceramic tiles in the Alcazar
goes to yet again show the brilliance of the Roman architects and builders.

Our return journey was uneventful and we sat outside in the summer sun under the awning reading and doing crosswords. I went into the pool for a quick dip and despite the sun it was cold and I shivered every length of the 20 that I forced myself to do. It does me good – well at least that is what I told myself as goose pimples developed as I swam.

When I got back the sky turned black. It did this the same time yesterday. And true to form the wind got up so severely that it shook the trees above us and we had to take the awning in. It blew the electrics for some strange reason and then the rain came. Heavily at first, followed by thunder rumbling overhead. Yesterday it was just rain – today sleet banging away on Suzy’s roof. The noise was tremendous in the van. It went over as soon as it arrived and settled into normality. Slightly colder than the morning. I think this must be the norm every day at roughly the same time and that
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The roman aqueduct
explains the trees and all the green around us.

Our evening was spent near to reception. We paid our 2 euros to get on Wifi but in the end did absolutely nothing as we fell into conversation with an English couple who lived in Edinburgh. They were both semi retired. She had got fed up to the eye teeth of being a social worker and had retrained to be a beauty therapist. He worked for the Ministry of Defence in anti piracy in the Gulf states and previously in the Falklands. Both had given up what they were doing to go in a tent around Spain for six months working on voluntary eco – projects. After two jobs in pretty appalling conditions they were giving up and heading home. We spent hours talking to them and sharing our experiences which ranged from home rule for Scotland to the state of our own economy. A lovely evening and nothing got done on the internet.


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