For the second Friday in a row, we went on a day trip. How much better can life be?! We travelled to Segovia, another beautifully quaint town filled with rich history. While on the bus ride there (which I was absolutely not asleep for…), we crossed the mountains which provided for two things that we immediately noticed upon arrival: 1) the backdrop for every picture was amazing and 2) it was FREEZING. Like my ribs were shaking within the first hour. But it was still pretty.
The all-knowledgeable Paco once again led our group to our first attraction: the Roman Aqueduct. The Romans used only stone to build them by calculating the exact pressures needed to keep the stones in place and introduced the Roman arch (half-circle) into the architecture world. The city of Segovia only stopped using the aqueduct as a means of retrieving water only 100 years ago. So basically that structure was used for 1900 years — we have to replace the Brita filters every 40 days. Can we just pause to think about that?
After that we went to another incredible cathedral! I thought it was a castle at first until Paco said something about Catholic traditions. Like the other cathedrals we have seen, the architecture and interior artworks are astonishing and commemorate the miracles and Saints of the Catholic beliefs. According to the Spanish calendar, almost every day is dedicated to a saint. On the day we were there, January 17, it was the celebration of St. Anton, the patron saint of animals and one of the guardians of Segovia.] Fun Fact: back in the day, Segovia was famous for their livestock! Therefore, they needed St. Anton’s prayers to keep their animals healthy and safe for breeding and selling purposes. This church had a lot of gold and a lot of statues, even more so than the Cathedral of Toledo. This Cathedral was also different because it had flying buttresses on the outside of the structure, a signature characteristic of Gothic architecture.
Then, of course, it was time for the Princess to return home. To her castle, of course. Yes. We went to a castle. BRB still crying about how amazing it was. The castle was glorious and inside there were replicas of medieval equipment and I even picked up my very own knight in shining armor! He was quite charming 😉 The castle had gorgeous stained glass and amazing views of the surrounding area. But the best part of the castle tour was being able to climb the 153 stairs up the spire to the very top and overlooking the view of the entire city. [I definitely thought I was going to trip and die; the stairs got narrower and steeper as we climbed up but it was so worth it when we got to the top!] The view reminded me of the scene from the Lion King — “Look Simba, everything the light touches is our Kingdom”.
Our last place we visited in Segovia was “La Granja”. In Spanish, la granja means “farm” but in no way did we visit one of those. La Granja is actually a Spanish palace built in the 16th or 17th centuries by the Spanish King who didn’t really love Madrid so he ruled from Segovia. One of the most interesting things about La Granja is that on sight, you are not actually looking at the palace itself but the huge church that is attached to the palace. It’s beautiful! And of course, there are the gardens in the back which I’m sure are absolutely stunning in the springtime. The gardens at La Granja are very French, which makes sense as the Spanish dynasty [that is still in control today] is from French ancestry. Currently, in Spain, there is a serious water shortage so the fountains, which don’t recycle their water, do not go on every day nor do they go on for long periods of time. I’m thinking about going back during the spring to see La Granja in full bloom so be prepared for those pictures at a later date!
On our trip home, Paco asked us which city we liked better: Toledo or Segovia. My heart goes to Toledo but comment below which one you like better [if you’ve been there or just based on my blog posts]