Salamanca has been a great town with a lot of interesting things around every corner, but I have been there for four days already and it was time to go check out other locations. Another town in the area that attracts tourists is Segovia, and even though this town is smaller than Salamanca there are a lot of get things there to look at, and makes for a perfect day trip from the my home base in the college town. It is only an hour train ride away and the people are warm and friendly, willing to take in the thousands of visitors that travel here during the summer months.
The most obvious feature is the old Roman aqueducts that run through the town. They were built in the first century A.D. without using any mortar, and I am told that even though they are not in use right now, they could still supply the town of Segovia with water. There are many spots in town that you can inspect these impressive feature because they run 15 kilometers throughout the city landscape, and they are always in the background.
But this is not the only feature of the town. Of course there is a cathedral, and I did not chose to visit it because I have been to enough of them on the course of my travels already. Instead I went to the other place that you do not get to see as much in European towns, the Alcazar. Alcazar is Spanish for castle, and this is one of the more impressive castles that I have ever seen. It is also an important part of Spanish history as this is the place where Isabella was crowned Queen of Spain and set off one of the most impressive times in European history.
The place holds many pieces of artwork from the time period as well as a bunch of suits of armor, medieval weapons, and maybe one of the largest collections of cannons ever. The castle sits on top of a large wall that would have made it a very difficult building to siege, making sure that the monarch was safe against any attacks that might have come their way. The artwork can be a little disturbing from time to time. There is a depiction of one of the kings ridding the land of moors by decapitating them and riding over their heads on his white horse. There is also a large painting depicting the coronation of Queen Isabella, but the painter only left black holes in place of where the subjects eyes should be, giving it a feeling that everybody in the picture actually belongs on another plain of existence. I am surprised that parts of the picture have not been used in some horror movies, but I can see how it has been the inspiration for some of them.
Wandering through the town is also a treat. There are many places where you can grab some tapas, or a cool cup of gelato. There are also tons of shops in the area if that is your thing to do, even though they are pretty much the same as you can find in any other town in Spain. In other words, they sell lots of zapatos here as there seems to be at least two or three shoe shops on every street.
But the real joy from this place comes from looking at the building that come out of many different periods of time as it is easy to see that Segovia has been around for many centuries. Every corner has a new statue or government building, castle, or cathedral. It is a wrapped safely in the confines of a medieval city wall that would have protected the citizens from conquering armies but somehow cannot keep out all of the visitors that come here all of the time.
I was not the only person going on a day trip to this great little town. It seems as if a lot of Spaniards had the same thought that I did because the train station was packed when I decided to head back to my little hotel room in Salamanca, except they were going the other way to the even closer town of Madrid. There are tons of towns like this all over Europe and it is worth taking the time to find them and journey away from your home base to enjoy a change of scenery. I would be willing to bet that you wouldn’t even need to travel to Europe to find that little small town in your corner of the world, so maybe the next day you have off, instead of spending it milling around the house, you could go enjoy a day trip.