On Saturday of my weekend in Madrid we took a day-trip out to Segovia, a little town about 90 kilometres away from Madrid. After Renfe, the national Spanish train company, made things slightly difficult, we ended up on the slow, but cheap, train to Segovia. The weather was marvellous, a perfectly clear sky with lots of warm sunshine, both things I have come to appreciate so very much living in rainy Asturias.
Walking in to the old town from the train station the first spot we came across was the Aqueduct that originally dates from Roman times. Even taking into account the fact that it has been rebuilt and restored a number of times, it is very impressive. It has beautiful, even arches, lovely stone work and a Virgin hiding away in a little niche. With clear, blue sky behind it, it could not fail to be very picturesque.
We found the best way to see the town was to cut a path from the Aqueduct on one side, through the tiny, cobbled streets and the Catedral de Santa María in the middle, out to the Alcázar (fortress) on the other side of the old town. This took us to the three main attractions and we got a lovely walk in between. So from the Aqueduct we took some back streets and meandered down to the Plaza Mayor, which is somewhat overshadowed by Segovia’s Cathedral.
The Cathedral boasts the usual plethora of side chapels and ornate choir stalls but it also has some great artworks. After the bright sunshine it was a little chilly though!
From the Cathedral we really only had to keep following one street to wind up at the Alcázar. We decided to skip the Artillery Museum inside but I did buy a ticket to climb the Torre de Juan II (one of the fortress’s towers), laughing at the warning that the 152 step staircase was “not for unhealthy people”. Turns out the spiral staircase is more unsuitable for claustrophobic people or anyone bigger than about a size 12. It was a tight squeeze! Especially with people walking both up and down and trying to pass each other. However the views from the top, looking back towards the Cathedral towering over the old town and the snow-capped mountains in the background, were magnificent and worth the effort.
One delicious lunch later and we were back on the train to Madrid. One siesta later and we were heading out to dinner and our last night together before my lovely friend headed off to Barcelona the next morning. We ate in the Plaza Mayor, which turned out to be much more touristy in the evening but beautiful all the same. A chocolate con churros each later and we were very ready to sleep! The next day was to be my last in Madrid and I still had plenty left to see!