3.13.2010

Smashing Segovia

I am terribly far behind on this whole blogging business. And Spain will not wait for me to catch up, so maybe this will end up just being lots of pictures--which is probably how you like it anyway!

Hokay so, almost a month ago (yeah.....super far behind!) we traveled up north to a little city called Segovia. After some deep thought, I have decided that this city is in my top 5 favorite cities in Spain. It’s hard to explain exactly why I love it so much, but for me it seemed like such a magical place. That is not meant to be ironic, but I guess it is a little bit because the castle at Segovia was the sole inspiration for a similar castle at the world’s most magical place, Disneyland. Be that as it may, Segovia really is an enchanting city.
Blanca had been warning us about how cold the North is, so Katie and I layered up with countless shirts and coats, extra socks, and leggings under our jeans. As expected, we overheated a little on the hour and a half bus ride to Segovia, but it was well worth it because our dear madre, of course, was right: it was freeeeezing. Our first stop when we arrived was at a little park below the Alcázar (the castle), so that we could look up and see it from a different angle. As we were walking around and taking pictures, it began to snow! It was like a flash blizzard-it started suddenly and lasted for about 10 minutes, and then was gone! We still had retained some heat stored during the bus ride, so Katie and I enjoyed frolicking around in the snow while most of the others ran for cover. Soon we gave in as well, and sprinted back to shelter.
Katie and I frolicking in the blizzard, beneath the magnificence of the castle.

Our next stop was at this funky, small, 12-sided church--La Iglesia de La Vera Cruz. This was built by the Knights Templar in the 13th century, and was made to resemble the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. It was really cool to hear a little of the legends and history of the church, and see all the symbols of the Knights Templar and everything. After exploring inside for a little bit we headed back to our trusty bus, which then dropped us off in the heart of the city, right next to the majestic Roman aqueduct.
We couldn't resist recreating a sacrificial offer upon the altar.

It was raining at this point, so we huddled under our colorful umbrellas as our dear guía Antonio gave the spiel about the aqueduct. This structure is absolutely mind-boggling to me. It is 894 meters long, and was built by the Romans in the first century. There are over 20,000 granite blocks that form 163 arches. We all know the Romans were brilliant, so why is this so aqueduct so special? Well, it may be because it was built without a single drop of mortar. Scuuu me-WHAT? Basically it is just a bunch of rocks, supporting and holding each other upright. It is phenomenal--especially given its size. Truly an engineering feat. You’ve really got to hand it to the Romans...they weren’t messing around!
 Nuestro guía, doing what he does best. 

One thing that I really loved about Segovia is the buildings-as we walked through the streets, most of the buildings and homes that we saw had really gorgeous designs carved on the walls. Our guide told us that it helps so that the snow doesn’t stick to the walls and make the buildings cold. So aside from being useful, they made the buildings really beautiful, and I loved it!
 Of course, none of our trips is complete without visiting the cathedral in that given city, so that is where we ended up next. This cathedral was one of the last major Gothic buildings in Spain, and took almost 200 years to complete. The exterior is absolutely marvelous, and though we found the interior to be fairly bare and unimpressive in comparison to others we have seen, it was still a beautiful cathedral.
After hours of standing in the cold, wet streets and the equally cold cathedral, we were more than happy to have a break. The girls headed to the nearest cafe for some much-needed hot chocolate. There was a heater in the back room so we ended up staying there for most of our free time, only leaving in search of some postres. :)
 We saved the best for last, and finally headed over the Alcázar. It is magnificent--it sits on a cliff, with a moat on one side and a huge drop-off on the other. There are all these cool towers and turrets and it just looks like something out of a fairy-tale. No wonder it was used as the model for the Disneyland castle! We were able to walk through a few of the rooms and get the historical scoop from our lovely guide, and then finally we did our favorite thing: climb the tower. Upon reaching the top, we happily saw that the rain and clouds had cleared away, and we were greeted by the sun and a beautiful sky--it was perfect. The city and countryside looked absolutely gorgeous from way up there, and I could have stayed there for hours just soaking it all in.
 Cool stained glass windows and funky ceilings are normal activity in this castle.
Obviously, I am a bit obsessed with this castle. 

As you can tell (more from the pictures and less from my poor descriptions), Segovia is a really beautiful place. Even though I’m a wimp in the cold, I loved walking around the city and admiring all the lovely buildings and people. And now I'll end all this blabbing and just let the pictures speak for themselves!
Pretty buildings everywhere.
 We had a few bizarre weather moments--one being in the first picture, the sun was out but you can also see that it's snowing in half of the picture! As we left the city, the clouds disappeared and the sun came out in full force.
Te amo, Segovia.

4 comments:

Sarah said...

cool meggy! that aqueduct is cuh-razy. and the buildings are beautiful, love the designs in the walls!

Rebecca Clyde said...

those mountains are enchanting.

Madison Bradshaw said...

i love this post!!! that is a sweet city with cool buildings!! i can't believe they dont use mortar at all!! that blows my mind!!! and the disney castle is magnificent!!! love it! and that is funny that you say you like this city the best because i feel that you say that with every city you go to! when you get back you will have to tell me the absolut favorite from them all!! soo glad you are having a good time! loves!

Paul~Melissa said...

MEGAN you have officially made me extremely JEALOUS! oh man! I wish I could be there touring those amazing cities and seeing those awesome buildings! Looks like such a blast!