Wednesday, 31 October 2012

23 Oct 2012 – Segovia

Our second day was spent in the Roman town of Segovia, an hour’s drive from Madrid.  

 Again our first stop was the tourist information office, where we got a map and an audio guide to the town.  We also planned our route on this impressive model of the town.
The audio guide proved a big disappointment.   It was far too detailed and quite complicated to use.   We soon switched it off and set off to explore using the map alone.
We quickly found the cathedral in the centre of the town.   Lovely building, but we did not want to spend time looking around inside on such a lovely day.
At the far end of the walled town we found the famous Alcazar.   With its turrets and impressive keep it looks just like you imagine a castle in Spain should look.   It was the source of inspiration for Walt Disney for the castle in Cinderella and the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland.
We didn’t visit the castle itself, but the views from outside were pretty spectacular
Instead of walking around the castle, we had coffee in the cafe – or rather in the gardens outside.   More wonderful views of the town and surrounding area.  But more important we could use the Servicios!
The drinks were very reasonable, unlike in Madrid, and we spent a very pleasant half hour recovering from our walk and enjoying the view
We then continued our walk around the town, using the map from the tourist information.
We had bought some tasty cheese and ham rolls from a panaderia near the tourist information, and we now found a very nice place to have our picnic lunch.
Fully refreshed we continued our walk back into the town centre
We now realised that we would not have time to follow the whole route on the tourist map, and decided to spend the remaining time exploring the famous Roman Aquaduct
First we followed the more energetic tourists and climbed the steps beside the tourist information office which led to the top of the aquaduct.
From the top there are spectacular views of the aquaduct and the town itself
From here we could see the length of the aquaduct.   We finished our visit by walking along the side of it to the starting point.  In doing so we had walked the whole length of the town from north to south.   
 On the way back to Madrid we stopped for an hour at the Royal Palace Gardens at La Granja.  They were built by Philip V in 1721 and modelled on Versailles.
We were all a little stiff and tired after our walking tour of Segovia, but the gardens were too tempting not to make an attempt to see them.
Unfortunately the fountains were not working, as they would have been very impressive.   There was no entry charge, but we were told that there would have been if the fountains were working.   A very pleasant end to a busy, but very enjoyable, day.

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