I don't have a pretty intro for this post. I just have the truth: I was really excited to go to Segovia. My mom studied abroad in Segovia when she was in college, so I was pumped to go see the city where she spent most of her time while in Spain. We took a bus from Moncloa early on a Sunday morning, and arrived while the town was seemingly still asleep. We thought the bus would drop us off right by the aqueduct, but were definitely on a mixed commercial/residential street with no sign of the aqueduct. We followed some of the crowds from the bus, and caught sight of the aqueduct between some buildings while we were walking. A few turns later and we found a main street, which we took towards the aqueduct, knowing that if we found that, we'd be in good shape.
See the aqueduct? By the lamppost, in between the buildings?
We got a map and some advice on getting around from the tourist office, located right next to the aqueduct, and headed to the Alcazar, which is about as far on the edge of town as you can get. This allowed us to get the lay of the land and see many of the sights from the outside, and see the farthest thing (the Alcazar) first.
First stop on our walk? Juan Bravo! My mom told me that her classes were located right by the statue of Juan Bravo, so we had our eyes peeled for him while we were walking, and we saw him right away, and then all throughout the day! He stands along one of the main streets of Segovia (I believe it's Calle Juan Bravo, actually, but Danny would know since he's our navigator and keeper of the map), and all day we were having so much fun imagining my mom living in and exploring the streets of Segovia! (We also got a little jealous at one point too. I mean, what a place to study abroad!)
Segovia's gorgeous cathedral. And directly behind me...
...Danny in the Plaza Mayor! It was a beautiful morning.
The Alcazar of Segovia is Spain's most famous castle, and has been a palace, a fortress, a prison, a college, and a military academy over the years since it was constructed in 1120. Now, it's a tourist attraction, and visitors can tour its rooms and climb to the top of the tower for a great view of Segovia and the surrounding area. The fact that people seem to enjoy the most: the Alcazar was (supposedly) the inspiration behind Cinderella's castle at Disney World.
We took a couple of hours to listen to the audio guide tour while we walked through the rooms and really take it all in. We had an entire day in Segovia (about eleven hours - from 10am to 9pm) so we weren't in any rush, and we took our time climbing around and exploring. When we finished in the building itself, we paid another two euros to climb the 156 steps to the top of the Tower of Juan the II for the views of the area. I'd say this isn't a must-do, but it did offer a neat perspective, and we met someone who lives in Colorado Springs up at the top!
After the Alcazar, we walked towards the Iglesia de la Vera Cruz, a twelve-sided church on the other side of the river from the Alcazar and not far by foot. We had hoped to visit, but instead ate lunch on its steps, as a sign posted on the door said it's closed for about three weeks right now (a good reason to come back, right?), and walked back into town.
This water fountain. I mean...is it really from 1909? And it's still giving out good water? We definitely had some of it since we forgot our water bottles, but really. So impressive. So charming.
We turned the corner from the water fountain and there seemed to be an entrance to a path along the river we had just crossed. So, being the water-loving people that we are, we decided to take it. Best decision all day. If you go to Segovia, please try to find this path. I promise, you will not regret it, and you will probably be the only tourists as well, which is always a win in my book.
So many leaves with a neat 'border' (if you will). I've never seen this sort of leaf in the U.S. - so fun the difference that just being an ocean away can make!
I think we could have hung out along the river all day long. However, we wanted to tour the cathedral, so we made way our back into town. We were very sad to find out that it was closed, but alas, just another reason to go back to Segovia, I suppose (No complaints there!).
While we were in the tourism office asking about the cathedral, a girl came up to us and asked if she could hang out with us. She said she had heard us speaking English, and said she was lonely and wanted to hang out with some English speakers until her train went back to Madrid. We were sort of put on the spot and said sure. So, for the rest of the afternoon, we were joined by a Californian backpacker (whose name has slipped our minds). She said she didn't care what we did, she just didn't want to be alone, so we carried on with what we wanted to, just with our new pal in tow.
We wanted to check out the aqueduct from some different angles and get some better views, so that was our first stop.
After walking around together for a while, we settled in at Pasteleria Limón y Menta, a cafe famous for its ponche segoviano, which is a rich lemon-infused sponge cake coated with marzipan and topped in icing sugar with a distinctive criss-cross pattern. It is located right off of the Plaza Mayor, and has free WiFi - always worth noting while traveling! The small portions of the cake are just right for two to share, in our opinion, and were three euros. We found a table in the back and hung out there and chatted for about an hour. We parted ways with our backpacking pal at this point, and continued walking around Segovia until it got dark out.
We took a 9:00pm bus back to Madrid (that had WiFi!), thankful for a great day in Segovia. We didn't get to see everything we wanted to, but we did get to see some things we weren't expecting, like the river and the gorgeous park that surrounded it. The only thing that could have made the day better? Getting to explore the city with my mom and hear about her college days in Segovia. Maybe we'll get our chance still...