December 24, 2018

Segovia: For Architecture & Food

If you've ever been sucked into the cheesy princess movies, you'll know the fake-almost-countries always sound the same: Genovia, Aldovia, Belgravia... the list goes on.

Segovia, on the other hand, is a very real place, and although not a country, it is a city and region in Spain that deserves to be recognized as maybe the inspiration for all of the fake kingdom names! But Segovia is so much more than just a cool name: it has some of the best preserved Roman, Gothic, and Romanesque architecture, in addition to the Jewish quarter that has retained much of its original structure. The whole city is an UNESCO heritage site, and every turn brings you to another fascinating part of history.


Please do take the time to read about the history of Segovia. It is beautiful and wonderful and very interesting!


But this is about what you can do there today! Google Maps has not yet figured out how to let tourists know that they can take the high-speed AVE train from Madrid to Segovia. When I searched on the map, I was directed to a +2 hour regional train from Madrid-Atocha to Segovia. It's best to start your journey to Segovia at Madrid-Chamartín instead, hopping onto the train that continues after Segovia to Valladolid. It takes twenty-seven minutes and costs €10,30 each way as long as you buy a round trip ticket from the start. If you want more flexibility in your travel schedule, you'll pay about an extra two Euros each direction.


Once you've arrived at the Segovia-Guiomar AVE station, go directly outside and get onto Bus 11 for €2. On the way into the city center, you will pass the bus stop for Plaza de Toros de Segovia and see the bullring on your right. Get off the bus when you see the huge Acueducto Romano de Segovia.


It's interesting to climb up to both the right and left of the aqueduct for a full perspective on how incredible of an architectural feat this was and still is! Note: made without any mortar of any kind!


Making your way up Calle Cervantes will take you to Plaza de Medina del Campo, where you will find the cathedral of San Martín from the 1100s.


Continuing onward to Plaza Mayor, you will be struck by the huge Catedral de Segovia. Off to the side, it's a good nod to history to notice the smaller Iglesia de San Miguel, where Queen Isabella was coronated in 1474.


Further along the ridge that Segovia is built upon, you will arrive at the Alcázar de Segovia, rumored to be one of the many castle inspirations for Walt Disney's amusement park creations. The views from the castle are amazing and not to be missed!


Segovia's main three architectural sites of the aqueduct, cathedral, and castle make it a perfect afternoon day trip from Madrid. Digging deeper into the city, you'll find a delicious restaurant scene. The main dish of Segovia is the cochinillo, or roasted baby pig. Most restaurants will serve it, and we found a fabulous and generally affordable version at Meson Don Jimeno.


I especially loved catching the gorgeous ironwork and building details down the different roads and alleys we took. These windows pictured above have one of the best views in the entire city and made for my favorite corner.


If you have time, take a walk around the castle gardens and soak in the sunlit views in every direction. We didn't go on the castle tour, but it seemed very popular and I know there are even better views of the city and countryside from the various porticos and towers.


There are monuments, statues, and plaques all over the city; it just takes a curious and observant eye to notice the sometimes small Spanish writing describing why the space has been memorialized. This was how we noticed the Iglesia de San Miguel. There are many buildings denoting various activities of Queen Isabella since she spent a lot of time here before she became queen.


We are so happy we took one of our Madrid days to experience Segovia! It's a trip into Roman and Spanish history and an absolute must for architecture and food lovers.



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