Acueducto - Segovia
Roman Acqueduct built around AD 50.
It’s Friday. My last full day in Spain. The weather is beautiful and I’m up early to catch the train. On the agenda, a day trip to Segovia. With promises of great history, I couldn't resist the trip out to this city. Down and up and down and up again, the stairs in the metra, and I made it back to the train station. I grabbed a seat on the fast train out to Segovia, some breakfast to go and was on my way. The ride was less than an hour and the countryside was beautiful. Fields of greens and golds, rolling hills, a portion of the ride even went through a long tunnel. Through a mountain I’d suppose. Until we arrived in Segovia.
A light rain fell but I quickly found the correct bus to take and settled in for the ride into town. It was an interesting ride on many curved roads. You would think that the area’s lay out was dictated by water, but it didn't seem to be the case. Listed as a Unesco World Heritage site, arriving into the city did not disappoint. Right there in the forefront, as if you say, you have arrived,
is the ancient Roman aqueduct that has survived all of these years and today merges the old with the new. Soaring 28 meters high, it’s an impressive site. There are 163 arches and was originally built in the 1st century AD by the Romans. Standing back and taking it in was breathtaking but them as you got up close to it and began to inspect the columns and arches its strikes you…these are uneven blocks of stone. These blocks of stone have been placed carefully and are holding onto each other with…well with nothing. Although you can now see repairs from over the years, it was original built without any mortar. I’m stunned. The Roman people were incredible when it came to design and execution. I walked from end to end just to soak it all in. As you’re arriving in town it sets the scene. There is a large round about and square and then the aqueduct and then the town with its cobble stoned streets and restaurants and shops. This area spreads out in a V while on the right you see the wall that begins old town, the ancient city
of Segovia. I have decided to spend most of my time in this area. I hiked up lord only knows how many stairs and now had a bird’s eye view of the city below and could see the aqueduct in its entirety. The skies had cleared up and the sun was now coming through. The light on the aqueduct was stunning. It played off the archways and gave the entire structure so much depth and character. What a site to see. In life there are certain moments that take your breath away. This was one of those moments for me.
From here, I moved on to the streets of old town. I was following the signs posted for all the different sites, or so I thought, but I'm pretty sure I got turned the wrong way a few times. It didn't matter though, everything was exciting to see. Small narrow cobble stone streets with teeny tiny sidewalks. Little homes and shops and businesses. Sometimes when you seek out some of these historic places in the world you forget that the place is still home for many people and its surprising to see the businesses and cars along the road.
finally made it into a rather large square and before me stood one end of the Cathedral of Segovia. Like many of the sites in Seville, it sort of just jumps out at you with out you realizing it's right there due to all the tight narrow roads and buildings. But before I went to the main attraction, I had one little side diversion into the Iglesia de San Miguel. This is a small and unassuming church just off the square. It's small yet massive in feel with it's historic significance and it's beauty. This is where Isabel was proclaimed Queen of Castile. It was quiet and humble and yet magnificent. I suggest everyone takes a moment to pop in and see the beauty that lies here.
From here I cross the square to the main attraction, the Cathedral of Segovia. Construction began on it in 1525 and it's mass and size didn't disappoint and I say this after my visit to the Seville Cathedral. This one is much smaller, but there is still something special about it. Or, perhaps now that I'm at the end of my trip I've just really come to love the Spanish sense when
The Cathedral of Segovia
In the center of old town and built in 1525.
developing their churches. It took about 250 years to complete the church and every moment was worth it. You walk in to a massive hall. This church in particular struck me with it's stained glass windows. Perhaps it was the sun on this day in September that made it so great, but in several places, colored designed danced on the floor and or walls as the light shone in through the stained glass windows high up on the walls. It dressed this otherwise cold concrete structure with a color that changed throughout the day but yet was always illuminated. The layout was standard but the detail was exquisite. I was able to capture another one of my favorite photos...looking up to the organ. The courtyard in this church was also lovely. And walking around it you felt like you were in a completely different world. The buildings surrounding the Church was gone and there was almost no noise expect for the birds and the wind. This was a good place to sit on a bench and relax for a few minutes. Existing the church out onto the front walkway was incredible. The bell tower seemed endless as you looked up
The Cathedral of Segovia
The arches inside and the light flowing in.
into the sky. Seriously, how did they build these places int eh 1500s! I really do need to go to Egypt for the full mind-blown experience!
From here I continued on through the streets until the edge of old town and the Alcazar. At this point we are high above the area below us and all around the city is a stone wall. Off in the distance are the rolling hills of Spain's countryside and a peacefulness falls over me. I enter the iron gates and grounds of the Alcazar and am immediately enchanted. The Patronato Del Alcazar de Segovia has inspired many people include Walt Disney. It is said this is the castle he based the Sleeping Beauty castle after. This may be the first time I've passed over a moat to entire any building and let me just say, the fall to the bottom would not have been fun! The original structure was built in the 13th and 14th centuries but then much of it burned down. What's standing today was mostly recreated in the late 1800s and some say it's an over indulgence to what it was before. Either way, I say it's intriguing, interesting and
The Cathedral of Segovia
I was taken by the different colors in the tile and how they have worn over the years
pretty. Many of the rooms in the castle are set up like a museum. There are old pieces of furniture and tapestries. Interesting bits of the wall that reveal frescoes and paintings. I enjoyed walking through the rooms that had large windows but the lower part of them were wood with stained glass pieces creating a design. The ceilings vary from gold trimmed to wood beams and everything in between. Some of the rooms are set up with military type items - everything from swords and knives to guns and cannons and lots and lots of Armour. Other rooms have small relics and statues. The best part is on the roof though. As I make my way onto the back part of the roof, I'm able to look out over the fields below and the most interesting of things...a maze garden. Well, i referred to it as a maze garden but as it turns out I couldn't figure out how to get to it. Nonetheless, it was lovely! It was fun to see some of the spires up close and personal on this back portion. Back into the building and out towards the front I go. The last stop on
The Cathedral of Segovia
This was light playing on the wall as it came in through the stained glass windows.
the journey here is to the main roof and to look out over the city. This requires a long wall up some very narrow stone steps that spiral far too tight. As I look up, I think of the stairs I've already taken in Madrid...how many more do I have in me! It's an interesting and tedious climb as you try to navigate past people speaking every language under the sun. There are many smiles and nods and hand jesters as people make there way up and down safely. Once at the top, it's all worth it. I reveal in the sun and beauty that is below me. You can see all of town from here and really have a sense as to why the castle was built in this spot. You are on top of it all in this part of the world and what lies below is amazing. Looking at the wall stretch around the city and to see the Cathedral from this vantage is stunning. Segovia definitely did it right!
With the big sites of the day done, I slowly wind my way back into the main part of town. I make my way down the
main street and shop through some of the vendors set up and then decide on a place to grab a little late lunch prior to jumping on the train back to Madrid. I found a little restaurant off the main drag and take a seat. There are a few tables outside and I notice that many people are eating meat with a few body parts left on it...I make a quite note to do my best not to order those dishes! I settle in for a nice dish steak which was far more than I could eat and enjoy my meal while watching some kids play soccer in the alley. Life in Segovia...not such a bad thing. As I make my way to the bus stop, the rain is on it's way back and it's cold again. I bundle up, hop on the bus and make my way to the train station. It's only a short wait here and a pleasant journey home. Back in Madrid the stairs of the subway await me and again I make it through with glorious success. It was a long but very fun day in Madrid!
The next morning I get up and
The Cathedral of Segovia
The gold detail was beautiful.
dress quickly. I'm on one final mission prior to departing for the airport. One of the most famous things in Madrid is Chocolateria de San Gines. It's visiting by just about everyone and at all hours of the day and night. Their specialty...chocolate con churros! I arrive and get into line to place my order. Yep, one order of deep fried doughnut strips and hot chocolate. The smell in the this place is better than any smell in the world (this is of course the opinion of a chocolate lover!) and I quickly grab a seat to enjoy the goodness. Now, what I'm expecting is a cup of hot chocolate like we have in the US. It's a liquid that you can drink. This is not what is delivered. To my surprise and delight...I'm handed a massive mug of hot, melted chocolate. This literally is the greatest place it the world! Dipping my churros in the chocolate really is a little slice of heaven on earth and I do my best to finish every last bite. Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible and I end up having to leave a bit behind. This is a must do stop on everyone's trip
After my yummy breakfast, I get myself packed up and make my way out to the airport. What an amazing 16 days this was. Spain is an incredible country with so much to offer. If it's not on your list of places to see, it should be!
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