After being in Madrid for the past few weeks since Christmas, I thought it would be nice to get out of the big city for a bit, even if it was just the afternoon, to explore a new smaller city. When I first arrived in Madrid, my roommate, Eva, gave me a list of different cities within a few hours on Madrid that would be good places to visit to experience the diverse cultures of this wonderful country. Segovia was on the list, namely because of its world-famous delicacy cuchinillo, or suckling pig. So Dan and I had kept it in the back of our mind that we wanted to have lunch in Segovia eventually when we found the time.
Fortunately for us, Friday after exams and before my birthday worked out perfectly for Dan, Mikey, Kathryn, and me! It’s only about an hour bus ride from Principe Pio Station in Madrid, so we caught the 11:30am bus. The greatest part of the bus ride was about half way through. We’re driving along when we head into a really, really long tunnel (Dan couldn’t even hold his breath through the whole thing!), but when we finally made it through to the other end, EVERYTHING was covered in snow. I don’t think I had ever been so excited to see snow in my life. Even though there was no snow on the ground in Segovia, it was still great to at least see the snow on the way there!
We picked up a map at the Toursim Office in the bus station, and the woman there even drew us a good route to see the most important sites. I had the same Spain Guide from Lucia that we had used in Toledo and Salamanca, but it was still great to have her help! We headed first to the Aquaduct which was built by the Romans in the first century. It was amazing to see something so old that has lasted so many years, and it was also very beautiful in the small city.
After exploring that side of town we made it over to Plaza Mayor, scoping out restaurants and menu del días through out the walk. The plaza was beautiful by quiet, and also housed a marvelous cathedral. Unfortunately, it cost three euro to enter and almost every cathedral I’ve seen in Spain has turned into a blur, so we decided not to go in. I love the architecture and everything, but I just can’t keep them all straight depending on who constructed them, when they were built, any specific influences, etc. It’s all a little over my head!
We wound through a few other plazas, parks, and scenic views of the surroundingpueblos before arriving at the Alcazar – Castillo at the complete opposite end of town from the Aquaduct (easily walkable in about 20 minutes – that’s how small it is!). A hilarious Segovian guide (??) from the castle was standing right outside and began talking to us as he heard us speaking English. When he realized we also spoke Spanish, we switched, but proceeded to talk for a good 20 minutes about every topic under the sun from the size of cars in America, to his Bolivian friend that lives in Lynn, MA, to if the visit inside the castle vale la pena or not. We decided to just walk around the castle instead of paying to go inside, but it was beautiful and really does look similar to the Disney Castle. What do you think?
We explored the South end of the city and Jewish Quarter on our way back to the main part of the city. We were on a mad search for a Jewish bakery to buy Challah bread, but had no luck whatsoever. Lastly, we found a fair-priced menu del día and menu segoviano for those that wanted to try the specialties. We all started with a different type of soup, then had either chicken, baby pig or lamb cooked in the typical oven served with fries, and ended with the ponche segoviano.
The amazing dessert is similar to a very sweet pound cake filled with an egg cream(see photo to the left). Unfortunately, we were so excited to warm up with the soup and indulge in our entrees that I didn’t even think to snap photos of those dishes!
After our delicious lunch we head back to the bus station just in time to catch the 4:30pm bus home to Madrid. Though we were only in Segovia for a few hours, it was extremely relaxing and certainly worth the 13 euro round-trip bus ride. We were relaxed and rested for a great night of birthday celebrations, but more to come on that! Ciao, amores:)