Segovia is a city stuck in time.
From the embellished peaks to stone walls, the architecture of this city is a constant reminder of its’ great past.
The beginning of the city is what resonates with the travellers. Once you travel down the hill to the Old Town of Segovia you will see the Roman Aqueduct and the great shadow it casts over the area. These stone arches tower over buildings as people walk under this piece of history.
Segovia’s Aqueducts, also known as the Puente de Diablo meaning the Devil’s Bridge, are one of the best-preserved elevated Roman aqueducts. Years ago, they transported water from the Rio Frio river in the mountains to Segovia, travelling over 16km. This Aqueduct was created without cement or mortar, making this historic feat one of the Roman Empire’s most impressive engineering creations.
When in Segovia you have to visit their magnificent cathedral. It’s a traditional Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral with high towers and peaks with a rounded exterior. When you walk into the church you immediately feel that cold damp breeze, a sign of an old well built cathedral.
The ceilings are unbelievably high, the tops shadowed with mystery. Paintings and statues line the different sections, a court yard featuring a fountain and a room with a ceiling of gold. It’s a church that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Spain.
Segovia is an excellent day trip. If you are staying in Madrid take a train to Segovia. It costs anywhere between €8.00-12.00 round trip depending on the day. The city can be seen in a day and it’s a great excursion that’s true to Spanish culture and roots. It isn’t huge but it’s a long walk with different highlights spread out through the town.
Alcázar of Segovia is the pinnacle point in the city. This castle is one of the most distinctive palaces in Spain because of its’ shape and colouring. If you grew up watching Disney then this castle will be extra special for you. It is said that Walt Disney drew inspiration from for the Cinderalla castle from this one. Look at the blue peaks rising above the building and the similarities become clear.
If you are visiting the Alcázar of Segovia then you have to walk the Tower of John II. With a sign that reads “Not for the unhealthy,” it’s obvious that the 152 steps can become a bit hard. I myself was out of breath and happy to flop on the ground once I reached the top but the view makes it worth it. You see over the city, the church and hills, it’s unbelievable and it gives you a snap shot of what a real, historic Spanish town looks like.
Segovia is beautiful. It hasn’t changed much since being built in 1076 B.C. Madrid and Barcelona have the urban hustle but Segovia slows down as this traditional Spanish settlement. It hasn’t been taken over by tour buses, flashy advertising and typical Western stores but it has preserved a part of Spanish heritage and you will be lucky to see it.
A Spanish beauty from their architecture to their café con leche.
The thing about Madrid is that it’s an addictive city. Not the bad kind of addiction that you need patches to forget but the kind that you go through withdraw from when you leave. It’s a city of passion, from every soccer jersey to historic highlight. Days are spent eating tapas of olives, cheeses and meats while enjoying a pitcher of sangria.
When it comes to Madrid you need to give the city the time it deserves. You cannot just Google the top attractions, take a cab around and then cross it off your list. Madrid needs to be sipped like a fine wine, it isn’t a shot of whisky that you want to get over with. The best thing to do is to walk the city, it’s big but it’s worth every step.
When you are in Madrid you need adapt to the culture. Have breakfast in a local café eating pan con tomate and drinking café con leche. Sit in a park while you eat your afternoon merienda of churros and hot chocolate. Buy a Real Madrid jersey and watch a game in a bar over paella and beer.
Madrid is like Toronto, it doesn’t stop running once the sun goes down and neither should you.
Walk the city.
There are things that you simply can’t miss in Madrid. For one, you absolutely need walk around Casa de Campo. It is the largest park in Madrid, measuring five times bigger than New York’s Central Park. With a lake with row boats, fountains, and even a zoo, you need to take time to explore the grounds. I particularly like La Rosaleda del Retiro and Plaza Parterre, the places looking as if they are straight out of a Spanish Alice in Wonderland. La Rosaleda’s is covered in different types of rose bushes, having floral arches surrounding fountains and stone benches. Plaza Parterre contains oddly shaped trees and a layout that can only be described as regally.
A highlight of Madrid is the walk from the Plaza Mayor to the Temple of Debod. Take an hour or two to really look at the sights because the historic significance for each point of interest will leave you in awe. The details in every statue, window and cathedral arch is well worth the trip. The best part of the walk is once you make it to the top of the hill at the Temple of Debod, an ancient Egyptian temple that was dismantled and brought to Madrid in 1970. When you finally get to the lookout over the city, simply sit under the trees, take off your shoes and enjoy a beer for 1€ sold by local vendors walking around the park.
It’s a city that cares, whether it’s their culture, language, or heritage. They care down to the last detail and it’s what makes Madrid so beautiful.
If you are up for some travelling, take advantage of Madrid’s subway and train system for day trips. There are so many cities with their own unique history around Madrid that for 20€ you can find yourself in an completely different environment.
Madrid is all about its’ energy. The buzz of people and cars constantly whisking down streets. The best memory I have from Madrid walking back from a late night stroll in the Casa de Campo. A game against Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid had just ended, everyone wearing a jersey and cheering as they flooded out of bars. Traffic had stopped for a red light, Vespas and cars honking the same tune as they all wore the same uniform, ecstatic for their soccer team’s win.
It’s hard to leave Madrid since it’s like a home away from home for Torontonians. Bright lights, fast cars, walking everywhere because we just can’t stop moving. It’s a beautiful city and it will leave you counting down the days till you can visit again.