Segovia … I had never been there and I hadn’t studied up on the place. The first thing that came to my mind was the famous guitarist Andres Segovia striking dramatic notes and chords that ooze what I think of as Spanish character. I don’t know if he is from or has anything to do with the city of Segovia or its just a coincidence that they share the name … and I’ve no time at the moment to go look it up.
In planning my trip to travel in Spain for the coming month I wanted to find a cozier place than Madrid to get my “Spain-legs” for the first several days after arrival. It needed to be reasonably close to Madrid and easy to get to by public transportation. I wanted there to be some mountain day-hiking possibilities within reach and I wanted it to be a walkable place that would be easy to explore and get acclimated to. With Segovia, it turned out that I got all that and much more.
Segovia is a small city of about 60,000 that is just over the Guadarrama Mountains that rise north of Madrid. I stepped off my long series of flights in a daze but still found it easy to make my way by train to Chamartin train station and then by high speed rail service. The high speed part took only about 30 minutes to cover the 90 kilometers from Madrid to Segovia.
Segovia seems to be built in a steep ravine. Other than frequent, pretty parks and plazas, pretty much every square centimeter seems developed up to the rim of the ravine then, surprisingly, there are deep green fields on the plateau above that rolls to the horizon. Something (probably regulatory) keeps Segovia within the confines of the arroyo. Multiple major streets lead down the arroyo and most converge at the foot of a massive bluff where the arroyo becomes more like a gorge. Picturesque streets and walkways climb the bluff where, on top, is the oldest part of the city. The fortress of Alcazar, the massive Gothic cathedral dedicated to the virgin Mary, and the Plaza Major (the main of the city’s many plazas), the Knight’s Quarter, and the Jewish Quarter are all found in this part of the city.
At the base of the bluff at Plaza Azoguejo an impressive Roman Aqueduct dominates the view. Built by the Romans in the first century AD to bring water from the mountains 16 KM to the South, this structure has withstood time, the elements, and who knows what else. At the plaza, the graceful arches soar more than ten stories into the sky. The aqueduct is built from huge stones held together only by gravity … no cement or mortar. It was fun to walk along its path through the city.
There seemed to be alot of young people everywhere. The little ones were playing at all kinds of things. I nearly executed an impromptu header with an errant soccer ball while sitting at a cafe one afternoon. Older youth, many in full rebellion uniform, hung out in groups and seemed to be itching for something to happen.Museums, monuments, green parks, lively plazas, picturesque streets, sidewalk cafes … all of these are to be found in Segovia. I felt fortunate to have lucked into a great starting point for my journey.
More images of Segovia (captions when provided are above the pictures):
Street life … from plazas to cafes to side streets …