Segovia Day Trip

Trip Start Apr 11, 2008
Trip End Jul 03, 2008

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Where I stayed
Aparthotel Suites Barrio de Salamanca

Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Castile-León,
Sunday, April 27, 2008

Continuing on from my last entry, we left Avila and set off about 60 miles Northeast of Avila to Segovia.  Segovia is a much bigger town than Avila, and here, we were going to have lunch, then tour the city.  Segovia is famous for it's "cochinillo", which is basically, roasted suckling pig.  As a side note, I have had more pork since I've been in Spain that I believe I've had in my entire life thus far (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration).  Apparently, the Spanish are still recovering from when the Moors ruled Spain back in the 1200s because they were not allowed to eat pork back then and since then they've been making up for lost time. Pork is definitely king here.

Anyway, I had paid the extra $10 for the "gastronomic" lunch over the "tourist" lunch just so I could try this famous cochinillo.  Well, I have to say, it was OK.  You have to remember that the Spanish use all parts of the pig - so, included on my plate were ears and other baby pig parts that I won't describe here.  However, I did recognize something that looked something like a pork loin, and that was delicious.

After lunch, we had about an hour to walk around the city before we had to meet at the cathedral for a tour.  Segovia is much bigger than Avila, and many things were open on Sunday.  It was a beautiful day (sunny, high 70's), so I walked around and stopped in some of the little shops and cafes.  We only had an hour, but it was enough.  Then, we met at the Plaza Mayor (again, main square) in front of the Cathedral - which was absolutely enormous.  I've included pictures of the outside, but unfortunately as is the case in most of the cathedrals in Spain, photos inside are not allowed. 

The Segovia cathedral has an interesting past - I noticed about 50 pews right in front of the altar, then a HUGE choir loft behind the pews, with a huge pipe organ which is hundreds of years old and still used every Sunday.  Then behind the choir loft, there were more pews.  I wondered what purpose those pews were as there's no way the people sitting there could see a thing going on during the service.  Apparently, the pews in the front were for church members who paid to get in, and the ones in the back were for poorer parishioners who did not pay.  I suppose those were the days when people thought they could buy their way into heaven!

Anyway, after touring the cathedral, we walked to the other edge of town to tour the castle (alcazar).  I've included pictures of it.  Originally a fortress, the Alcázar has also been a royal palace, the site of Philip II's wedding to his fourth wife, Anne of Austria, and more recently a military academy. In the upper part of the city, the oldest foundations have been identified as Roman. Documents indicate that a fortress existed on this site by the early 12th century known as the Alcázar, an Arabic word for a royal residence.  Unfortunately, much of the original structure was destroyed by a fire in 1862, then again by another fire in recent years.  Very little of what stands today is original, which was disappointing.  However, it was still an enjoyable tour. 

The single most impressive thing about Segovia, in my opinion, is the aqueduct.  Again, you have to see the pictures to understand and even those don't do it justice.  The aqueducts were built in 1 A.D. by the Romans.  No, that was not a type - those aqueducts are 2,007 years old.  And, the even more amazing thing is that they are not held together by anything - just stone on stone.  Talk about "they don't make 'em like that anymore"!  The aqueducts are no longer used for anything other than a historical site, but from looking at them, they look in good enough shape to be used today.  It really was as sight to see. 

Anyway, after touring the castle, we made our way back to the bus for our ride home.  I think almost everyone fell asleep after such a tiring day.  If you make it to Spain, I highly recommend a visit to Segovia.  It really was an experience not to be missed.  I just wish I had been able to stay overnight.
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