Today, we headed to Segovia.
I had gone back and forth on this one because every time I checked, the weather forecast changed. If it was going to be quite rainy in Madrid and okay in Segovia, we’d go…but then the forecast would tell me that it was going to be okay in Madrid and rainier in Segovia..or it was going to be quite rainy in both (in which case, we’d stay here and do museums).
It finally settled, mid-morning on a “40% chance of light rain” forecast for Segovia, so that seemed worth the risk…and I’m very glad we went, because it ended up being a lovely, rain-free afternoon.
How did we get there? Well, my intention had been to take the high speed train up and back. We reached the Chamartin station, and by the time I finally got to a ticketing person (the machines wouldn’t take my cards…of course), the one I reached didn’t speak a word of English, we didn’t really understand each other, and he sold me four one-way tickets to Segovia, rather than the round-trip I’d wanted.
We’ll figure that out later.
The train ride up was quick and smooth, much of it through tunnels and one starting section through fairly heavy snowfall.
The AVE station is 6 km outside of Segovia, but the buses are coordinated to await the coming trains, so all you do is pay your Euro and hop on, for a twenty minute ride into town.
Segovia is famous for its magnificent Roman aqueduct…and it is certainly something.
As is the Cathedral, constructed in what is termed the “Flamboyant Gothic” style.
The odd thing is that the actual worship space (as we say) takes up a relatively small area in the middle of the cathedral – the rest of it being consumed by a gorgeous choir area with two stunning organs and then, of course, lots and lots of side chapels.
Including a Blessed Sacrament with a lovely tabernacle and altar obviously carefully designed to complement the normative aesthetic. (You probably have to click on the photo to enlarge it to see.)
Then to the castle, mostly reconstructed, but still mildly interesting, mostly for the room which holds bas-relief painted statues of all the monarchs of the Reconquest. And the ceilings, which were gorgeous.
By then it was 2, so it was time for lunch. Segovia’s local culinary claim to fame is conchilla, or roast suckling pig. I didn’t go seeking it, but the odd little restaurant where we ended up – tables on the second floor, dish and condiment story on the first, in full view of the street, kitchen in parts unknown – had it on the menu, so we tried it, and yes, it was excellent.
Then down the hill to the Iglesia de la Vera Cruz, built by the Knights Templar in that signature roundish style.
I was surprised that it wasn’t open on the inside, which I had expected. There was, rather, a two-level room built in the middle of the structure, with an altar and a couple of niches on the second level – I wondered if this is where the relic of the True Cross had been kept.
Then down and around to the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites, founded by St. John of the Cross, and where his remains now lie. (You can watch a short video of Fr. Robert Barron and Fr. Steve Grunow in front of this tomb, discussing the importance of the saint.)
Then back. We didn’t take the train on the return because there’s a direct bus to Madrid that was right in town, so it would require one less step. In addition, the metro at the bus stop is a little closer to us than the metro at the AVE train station, so total time, despite the fact that the bus was an hour, wasn’t that much more. And it was a different experience.
So…we left the apartment at about 10:30 AM, and were back by 8..a full day, yes?