It’s the only major city I’ve traveled to in the vast north-central region of Castilla y León, but if Segovia is any indicator, I can’t wait to see more of Castilla in the future.
These aqueducts (literally “water channel”) were inclined at precise angles to keep water moving all the way to the cities, so whenever a valley opened up, vast, stacked arches had to be put up to support an elevated span. Few aqueducts remain in Europe, but the ones that do are truly amazing, like southern France’s Pont du Gard and this one in Segovia that cuts straight through a valley on the edge of the old town. During the reign of Ferdinand & Isabella, 36 arches were carefully rebuilt, and the aqueduct continued to bring water into Segovia through the 1800s.
When seen from the terrace of the Alcázar, the cathedral gleams in the afternoon sun with its soaring bell tower, transporting you to a scene from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, perhaps Minas Tirith, the White City of Gondor.
|Alcázar de Segovia|
It’s almost comical how fairy-tale pretty the outside of the Alcázar is, and it even inspired the Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World, Florida. But the inside will really surprise you with its riot of Mudéjar-style ceilings covered in shiny gold leaf. Royal life must have been real swell calling a castle like this home…
|Ceiling in one of the palatial rooms|
2) Romanesque churches
|Church of San Clemente|
|Church of San Martín|
|Church of la Vera Cruz|
I really enjoyed entering the 12-sided Church of la Vera Cruz on a hill outside the walls to the north. It’s a bit of a steep hike down the promontory and then back up onto the plains, but the church also serves as a little mirador or lookout point of the city. The interior is really unique because instead of being oriented in a Latin cross fashion, three apses open into a circular nave in which there’s a central aedicule or “little building.” You can climb up some stairs to a small, round room on the upper floor and wonder what sort of conversations would have been had by the knights of the Order of Malta, who continue to take care of this church today.
|Clockwise, from top left: judiones,|
ponche, and cochinillo
The star of the Segovian kitchen, though, is cochinillo asado, roast suckling pig. It sounds, um, gruesome, but the combination of crunchy, smoky skin and the most tender, juicy pork you will ever eat is mind-blowing (and wallet-emptying!).
A typical dessert in town is called ponche, a dense, marzipan-like cake that had me sighing while I snarfed it down at dusk at the Plaza Mayor.
What’s your opinion of Segovia? Would you consider daytripping here if you happened to be in Madrid? Join the discussion in the comments below.