Saturday I took a trip with my program to the city of Segovia, which is a little over an hour bus ride from Madrid. The city was once owned by the Romans, then proceeded to change hands for many decades until it was finally reclaimed by the catholic King and Queen. Since it had so many owners, the architecture has many different influences. Styles change from having Arab influences, to Roman style arcs, to gothic ceilings, etc. There are also many churches because the catholic King tried to repopulate the city quickly by offering free land and other benefits. So many different kinds of people all rushed in and they each built their own churches.
Segovia is a really tranquil city with cute buildings and very famous food. Everything is a strange mix there, but it all fits together so perfectly that you don’t find it odd at all. I can’t explain how nice a change it was from the bigger/faster pace of Madrid (which in reality isn’t very faced paced at all), however by the end of the day I was looking forward to returning to Madrid for the Noche en Blanca festival (the city closes off streets and sets up lots of performances, activities, and concerts in addition to extending metro hours). I stayed out with friends until 7am, had chocolate con churros, and then fell into a very deep sleep in my bed.
¡Besos y abrazos!
When we got there we found a good many of the habitants of Segovia dressed in Roman style clothing. They were putting on demonstrations of what life was like when the Romans were in control of Segovia and apparently do this kind of thing frequently.
A quick snapshot of the streets. If you look carefully you can not only see my Tandem group in front of me, but also notice how the buildings sometimes have this 70s wallpaper look about them, very cool in reality.
One of the tallest towers in Segovia that is part of a church. Most churches were modest and kept their towers lower, but this church decided to go for it. Again, if you look closely you might notice the bottom 2 arches are gothic, vs the Romanic arches above, and that the bottom 2 sets of arches are blind arches.
An inside view of a portion of ponche, a savory dessert that is rather pricey, but well worth it. It is best described as a very light custardy inside with a thin layer of cinnamon, wrapped in a doughy outside that has the consistency of mochi. Another famous dish that I did not try is called cuchineo (I think that’s what they call it), which is baby pig that’s slow cooked for a very long time with only a little salt and not much else. It is supposed to be so soft that you can cut the pig afterwards with the side of a plate. Some friends tried it and said it was the best meat they had ever tasted in their entire lives.
This is the palace where the royalty once resided. It was commented several times by classmates that it had a sort of Disney appearance due to the towers.
It was complete with a high bridge over a moat (that was pretty much empty).
Here is the view from the top tower which is probably the highest point in the city. The climb is up a tiny spiral stone staircase in which many people pass up and down. I think it was well worth it though.
I have a thing about looking up, and I LOVED the ceilings inside the palace. This is the ceiling inside the throne room.
Next we have a giant cathedral in the main sector of the city. Normally the churches were built next to the palaces, but the king realized that they were 2 competing powers and after the old cathedral burned down, he had a new one rebuilt on the furthest point from the castle. It took many decades to build, but it quite impressive.
A sneaky picture from inside the courtyard. (I think we weren’t supposed to use cameras inside the cathedral, but many others were taking pictures and I felt one picture from the courtyard outside the actual cathedral would be ok.
Ok, well maybe it was two pictures that I took…
You can see the remnants of the Roman aqueduct in Segovia, one of the few remaining ones, and the best maintained and possibly longest existing one. The city keeps it in good condition by actually using it once every couple of months (the best way to maintain something is to use it I was told).
Here is where the long stretch ends and the water is poured into a small drain where it is added to the underground water supply.
The big arches must have been at least 50 feet tall. It was incredible! While there are many stones, which were replaced (because if I understood our teacher guide right it fell once and was put back up), it still appears very aged and I couldn’t resist running my hands over the stones in an attempt to feel the centuries.