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Published: November 8th 2014
Eric used to ramble on about seagulls following the trawler and was very dismissive about the contribution of the water carrier. The Romans it seems were a bit more savvy about the need for water as the source of all things and demonstrated this with the imposing Aquaduct running through the town in Segovia. The structure is recognised as the greatest work of Roman civil engineering in the Iberian peninsula and dominates the lower town. It dates from circa 100 AD and the assembled 25,000 blocks of granite stretch over 800 metres across the valley without any mortar holding in together.
The prospects of seeing anything had been somewhat remote a few hours earlier, as we left Avila in the driving rain. The Avanza bus ploughed on through the small towns and villages that were by passed by the motorway, as the few other passengers emerged from what passes as a bus shelter in rural Spain. The other passengers were a mix of workers going into town, pensioners making a forray for provisions or the odd student. The bus website suggested that it would dock at the more inconvenient of the two bus stations in town, so it was with
some surprise when it stopped at the one a few minutes walk from the Aquaduct. This one was a bit more basic than Avila and had clearly not featured on the radar of the property developers keen on adding another fitness club extension.
It was still raining lighty at this point and the town at this point was still very much asleep. We headed towards the Aquaduct and waited for the Tourist Information office to open at 10 am to land a free map. Map in hand and rain ceasing to a degree, we walked up the hill towards the Cathedral and the Alcazar.
The Alcazar was at the very end of town, perched on the high outcrop between the two rivers that bypas the town. The Alcazar was favoured as a royal residence and has the appearance of a Disney castle with it's gothic towers. A lot of what is viewed today is a reconstruction, after a fire in the 1860s destroyed much of the original. The entry includes a commentary on a walkman device for a small additional sum, which gives a room by room summary of the changes over the years, the original pieces left
on display and how the fire impacted on the building. The additional entry section to the Tower gives a good view over the town and surrounding area. It was a shame about the scaffolding tower and crane to one side of the Cathedral. We spied the stopping point for the coaches arriving into town, which was the logical place for the ultimate place for the photo opportunity should time and energy permit.
We walked back into town , which was beginning to come to life with both locals and visitors. We emerged from the narrow lanes of the old Jewish querter behind the Cathedral into the Plaza Major. The Japanese on their day trip from Madrid were practising the art of selfies with their phones in an extendable cradle. This new craze will probably give heart to bag snatchers everywhere, as large volumes of iphones are propelled a few feet away from their owner just ready for the taking! Plaza Major is by no means a Salamanca version and is relatively drab in comparison.
The Cathedral is the last Gothic creation in Spain. It is seriously big! The Lady of Cathedrals. We paid the entry fee and headed
in. The Cathedral Tower was only open at 11 am and 4 pm, although the reason was entirely obvious. As with many such buildings, the interior was dimly lit and so decent photography is a challenge. The various chapels, cloisters and sheer scale of the place make it impressive, but not in a wow sense.
We headed for a closer inspection of the Aquaduct before finding a back street bar for our dos cana and tapas lunch. We sat at the bar with locals, some of whom didn't finish the drinks or food and moved on quickly. The local economy obviously isn't in such tatters, if people can afford to waste money. After the light lunch, we energised enough to atempt the walk to the Alcazar photo opportunity spot identified earlier. It was a long climb back through Plaza Major and down into the ravine beyond the Alcazar. The defensive position was more pronounced from this angle and you could see why the location was chosen.
The long climb back again left us in need of additional sustanance and we secure a bargain coffee and 4 fartons to share. The farton in case you are wondering is a
spongy sweet bread that seems to have branched out from it's Valencian roots to expand waistlines all over Spain. There was only one bus back to Avila from Segovia, so we thought it wise to show up early. Alas, there is no information board or office and the assurance we were after that we were in the right place or near the right bay was unavailable. The buses were fast and frequent to Madrid, but others looking for different destinations were left mainly to wonder and ask any random bus company personnel. The situation wasn't helped by busese parking up in bays and their drivers wandering away, leaving vision of other vehicle arrivals completely obscure. After a minor panic, our bus finally turned up and parked on the far side of the compound out of sight of most waiting passengers.
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