My friends and I stayed in Segovia last night. A small medieval town of about 60,000, it offered a stress-free beginning to my adventures in Spain and Portugal. An added plus is that it is at an elevation of about 3,000 feet so the weather was very cool and pleasant.
My GPS was useless in the narrow cobbled streets, but the signage was pretty good at directing me to the main plaza. I learned a long time ago not to drive into a medieval town without first walking it. So, we parked in the modern underground parking lot and I walked the pedestrian-only streets to my hotel. Then, I got in the car and drove the route which I was instructed by the hotel staff. If you are interested in the mistakes I’ve made and how I learned to first walk, then drive read my blog entry “Too Much Room for the Road.”
Infanta Isabel Hotel proved to be a good find. Located on the pedestrian-only Plaza Major, we found a friendly reception staff, clean and updated rooms, and a perfect location from which to explore the town.
One of the main attractions in Segovia is the Roman aqueduct. At one time, it carried water over nine miles from the Río Frío to the Roman fort in Segovia. Today, it is amazing to see a remaining section of the aqueduct that is 2,500 feet long and 100 feet high. Roman engineers and workers constructed this section 2,000 years ago out of 20,000 precisely cut, granite stones, which were stacked without the aid of any mortar.
The Cathedral sits right on Plaza Major and dominates the skyline. Since construction began in the Renaissance (1525-1768) it contains a variety architectural styles, mainly Flamboyant Gothic. However, the church is capped with a dome more closely related to late Renaissance and Baroque church buildings.
I took a stroll from the aqueduct to the Alcarzar, trying to get a “feel” for the town’s layout. About 8:30 p.m., the place came alive with locals and tourists taking to the streets for the paseo, the nightly stroll and visit time.
This being our first day in Europe, we were hungry and ready for bed by 8:00 p.m. However, people tend to get a late start on the evening in Segovia (and most of Spain). By 9:30 p.m. we could hold out no longer and decided to eat at “Caesars,” the restaurant associated with our hotel. Dinner was delightful, sitting on the main square and watching the “town” go by. I had a fine meal of gazpacho and a local specialty, roasted suckling pig.