Sunday, 20 September 2015
Segovia: The Cathedral, Aqueduct - and pigs!
Towards the end of my stay in Salamanca I faced a weekend of excursions. I generally preferred to have a maximum of one excursion per weekend but in order to see both Segovia and León, two places I really wanted to visit, I would have to do two trips, to four places, in two days.
I rose to the challenge, getting up bright and early for Saturday's trip, which would take us to Segovia and then to La Granja Palace.
The coach journey was long but fairly comfortable. I read for most of it, finishing "The Chalet School At War" (aka "The Chalet School Goes To It"). It is a wonderful book and being surrounded by the empty, dreamy Spanish countryside made the reading experience even more vivid and memorable.
We stopped at a garage/service station from which we could see a huge flour mill.
We completed the journey to Segovia and made our way from the coach station into town, passing some unfortunate pigs. Segovia is known for its pork and the pig theme is very present in the city.
We reached the Roman Aqueduct and I was awed by its magnificence. I've seen other aqueducts and viaducts and this one is really something special. I'm not surprised that it's a World Heritage Site and that there is a popular myth it was created by the Devil - it looks too amazing to have been built by man.
After admiring the Aqueduct we set off up into the Old Town. Like many Old Towns it is up a hill which makes military sense but is a bit of a pain for tourists. However, it did give us some nice views of the countryside which you'll see later in this post.
Having studied the Casa de los Picos - "House of Peaks", roughly - in art class, it was great to see it in real life, especially when I wasn't aware we were approaching it: it just appeared around a corner.
Salamanca and Segovia are architecturally similar in many ways and the House of Peaks is kind of the twin of Salamanca's Shell House. Both were built at a time when repeating a motif on the outside of a building was very fashionable.
We walked on through the Old Town, heading for the Cathedral.
We arrived in the Plaza Mayor - the main square. I had been in two Plaza Mayors of Castile and León, those of Salamanca and Ávila. Salamanca's Plaza Mayor was built in the Baroque style and is completely enclosed and Ávila's is like a miniature version. Segovia's is totally different - much more open.
Segovia Cathedral was built at the same time as Salamanca's New Cathedral and by the same architects. While Salamanca's is known as "Magnus" for its size, Segovia's is known as "La Dama" - "The Lady" for its beauty.
Our tour of the Cathedral was short but I liked what I got to see. The stained glass is lovely - there are three different types - and the whole place felt quite ethereal.
Cheeky lions guarding the Cathedral
After leaving the Cathedral we hurried through the streets again to reach our next destination, the Alcázar. It felt like we were in a hurry for the whole trip, which was a shame as I'd have liked to have relaxed and explored more thoroughly.
We reached a viewpoint where we briefly enjoyed the vista mentioned earlier before being hustled on again.
So, that was the first half of my Segovian adventure. Join me in my next post for our visit to the Alcázar and some delicious desserts.
Thanks for reading!