Why did I love Segovia? Maybe it’s as simple as the number ‘3’. I’m practically OCD with this number…three days running each week, three days diet, three days the Subway breakfast sandwich, three days Thai food…I could go on. Segovia is the perfect day trip, as you can see three amazing sights all within a short walk of each other. Only a little over an hour drive from Madrid, we rolled into this vibrant city early in the day, and after solving some parking hassles began our overnight adventure.
I saw a Roman aqueduct before, the Pont du Gard near Avignon, France. I never thought I’d be comparing Roman aqueducts, but here I go. The Pont du Gard is beautiful in that it’s set in a park, away from the city, sitting on top of a river and surrounded by nature. I was more struck, however, by the aqueduct in Segovia that is right in the middle of downtown. You can get really close and personal, and with Segovia being a university town, I can imagine all the drunk students coming down here and taking selfies…like I did! I also wonder how many first dates in Segovia started with ‘meet me at the aqueduct’, and how many ended with an intimate session under one of the arches. It’s truly amazing to see a Roman relic like this, and gain perspective on just how huge that empire was. We played a game…how many different ways can you photograph a Roman aqueduct? I counted six.
The Gothic-style Cathedral that sits in the main square, Plaza Mayor, was amazing at night, and probably the prettiest church I’ve taken evening shots of. An added plus was capturing the moon nestled between two of the cathedral peaks. If it wasn’t so rainy and windy, I would’ve wanted to hang outside and enjoy a glass of wine while admiring this imposing beauty. Not unlike the cathedral in Sevilla, the outside was the highlight. In most Spanish cathedrals I’ve been inside, I feel they misuse the space…leaving too many unused spots. The altars seem miniature compared to the size of the cathedral, and with the high ceilings it almost seems like you’re in a giant warehouse. Regardless, I will always remember the golden glow of the Segovia cathedral against the night sky.
Similar to the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria inspiring Sleeping Beauty, the Alcazar in Segovia is said to have inspired the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World. You be the judge! I admit the blue tower pinnacles look the same, but I saw another castle with this feature in Olite, so maybe Disney just really liked Northern Spain. Over the years this Alcazar has served as a fortress, royal palace, prison, and military academy. It reminded me of the Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, in that every room had a different theme, and I love variety like that. Rooms were filled with knight armour, tapestries, painted ceilings, stained glass windows, etc. The artistry throughout was awesome, and the views from the castle were great as well.
We stumbled upon the Carnival celebration, a tradition that spread to Spain from Italy. I was lucky enough to previously catch the Carnival in Venice last year. The festivities always occur before lent, as a permissiveness of debauchery before the penance of Easter. This reminded me of my Mardi Gras days in New Orleans. Masks are encouraged to promote anonymity, and thus more freedom to ‘let loose’. Segovia isn’t the most known Spanish city for this celebration, and the poor weather put a damper on things, so the party was rather subdued. Maybe it’s all the costumes, but Carnival has always struck me as a Halloween-esque holiday spread out over several days. Maybe the locals just view it as one more reason to drink Sangria on weeknights.
We struggled through the bad weather in search of a highly-rated Italian restaurant, and once we found it the food was just okay. Of our entire trip, the wind and the rain were probably the strongest in Segovia. Can you believe I bought a cheap umbrella that day, then had the wind turn it inside out, quickly followed by the wind bending the metal bar back…and finally the entire umbrella broke off and flew into the Segovia sky! Because it happened next to the Cathedral, I took it as a sign from above…that this really is the best day trip from Madrid!