Medievil Walls and Aqueducts - Spain Style

Trip Start Apr 08, 2007
Trip End Dec 22, 2007

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Sunday, July 1, 2007

Our friends Shane and Kate (from the Emirates Episode of this blog) had done a similar trip three years ago, and had given a list of some of their favourite places. One of them was our next destination, Avilla, to the north west of Madrid. Our drive took us past another town called Salamanca. It's a university town, full of life and packed with things to do. All we wanted to do was have a picnic, but found it hard to find a park, so after a quick lap around town we continued on and found a smaller town called ???? (sorry we can't remember) that had a nice park to set up the chairs and table and kick back for lunch.

Then it was on to Avila. As the road approaches you get your first glimpse of the walls that surround the town. They were built by the Roman's in the 12th century, and are over 12 metres high and three metres thick. For 3.50 Euro we were able to climb and explore a third of the 2.5 km's of wall. We spent a few more hours wandering the streets and alleyways, enjoying the atmosphere. Unfortunately, there was no camping ground in Avila, so rather than spend 60 plus Euros on a hotel room, we decided to keep driving on to Segovia, about an hour down the road. And we're glad we did. Segovia not only had a campground (for 16 Euros) but also had its own Roman 12th century feature, a 15 metre high 800m long Aqueduct. The Roman's built it without any mortar between the stone blocks. Impressive, yes.

Stretching from the aqueduct runs a plaza of 500 metres lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, with thousands of people of all ages enjoying the summer evening. We sat for a while in one of the cafes and had a beer out of a strange glass. Maybe it's not always this busy but tonight there was a band called Burning playing on a stage beneath the Aqueduct that was drawing the crowds.

Sometimes we splurge a bit on dinners or buying new things but the budget was a bit tight this week due to all the driving, so we bypassed the restaurants for a cheap takeaway pizza from a budget pizza chain. While trying to decipher the menu on the board we didn't take much notice of the prices and when it came time to pay our budget pizza chain ended up being not so budget at all. The pizza was better than you'd expect from these places but 28 Euros for two pizzas and a can of Sprite is a gip. That's $44 Australian dollars.

After our wallet recovered from such a viscous and unprovoked attack, we spent the rest of the evening cruising around the town and discovered that Segovia not only has the Aqueduct, but also a magnificent castle called the Alcazar. It actually burnt down in the 1860's but was rebuilt. We're glad they did because it's a great backdrop to a fantastic town.

The next morning we set off early. We had a long days travel in front of us. It was time for one last crack at scoring some waves before we set off to the east towards the calm waters of the Mediterranean. We were returning to Hossegor, where this camping caper had begun, in the hope of catching an impending swell. Plus, I had a dog to save.... but more on that next time.
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