As Sarah and I were reveling in our wonderful day exploring the highlights of Madrid it dawned on us that we were approaching the penultimate day on our vacation. While discussing how we should fill this bittersweet last day in Spain we quickly came to the conclusion that we didn’t not want to spend it walking through the halls of a museum, which is what we’d originally had planned as Madrid has the world rebound Prado Museum. We decided, I’m sure quite controversially to some of my fellow travelers, to turn the following day into one last day trip adventure. Madrid has several options as to viable day trips to chose from, El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen, to Toledo, Segovia, Avila, Consuegra, Aranjuez, and Cuenca. We quickly narrowed our options to three, the immense palace El Escorial, Toledo, and Segovia. Escorial was oh so very tempting with its beautiful library that is ranked as one of the top on the world, however we were quite over seeing palaces. Toledo came in a very close second, but as we looked at what the must see sights were in this old city we saw that we were in store for another parade of churches. As such we decided to pass on this popular trip. The unique sights that Segovia had to offer ended up being the reasoning behind choosing this city as our destination of choice. As we went to bed, our plan was to purchase train tickets the next morning to take the half hour ride to Segovia’s outskirts. Alas, the next morning the tickets prices had significantly ballooned, causing us to frantically explore other modes of transportation. Upon further reading, we ended up deciding to take the bus, which would drop us off a mere 10 minute walk from the Roman aqueducts after an hour ride, which proved to be comparable in transportation time as the train due to needing to take a 30 minute bus ride into the city central from the train station. To get our tickets we took the metro to the Chamartín train station where we then had to descend another level to the bus depot. We bought our tickets from kiosk that was confusing due to its English function malfunctioning. While this didn’t prove to be a difficulty on our way there, our return ticket proved to be an issue, but more in that later. Based on incoming inclement weather we bought tickets with a 3 hour exploration window. Everything went smoothly as we boarded our bus and our trip through the countryside afforded breathtaking views., especially as we climbed into the mountains.
Alas, about 40 minutes into the hour drive we were waylaid for approximately a half hour due to our bus overheating just as we grew close to the summit of our mountain trek. It proved to be quite the experience as we weren’t being told what what happening or what what wrong. Really the bus as a whole was wonderful as my fellow travelers all demonstrated patience and poise. We just sat on the side of the busy highway as our bus driver kept walking around our tired little bus. Eventually we got moving again, much to everyone’s relief. Once we got to Segovia, it was a very short and easy walk in the direction of the aqueducts, with the massive structure soon emerging above the buildings in the distance.
Rounding the bend to fully take in the immense size of these ancient structures that have defied time struck Sarah and I speechless. Sure the photos were impressive enough to have drawn us to this city, instead of other arguably more popular destinations, however no photo truly captures how impressive these time tested pillars are. We were both baffled that Rick Steves only gave this sight a mild recommendation at best.
As we moved along the aqueducts we ventured further into the city toward the direction of the Alcazar of Segovia. Sarah and I very quickly became enamored with the charm that emulated throughout this quaint town. Emerging into the town center, we were drawn in by the stunning Segovia Cathedral overlooking the square. There was a wedding party getting photos taken with this scene as a backdrop. You can see the bride in the photo below. I’m sure the final product was fantastic and the bride will treasure that moment forever.
Unfortunately due to the bus mishap we were unable to take the time to tour this towering Cathedral. So Sarah and I continued our trek through Segovia where we made our way toward the Alcazar. This castle was said to be one of many that inspired Walt Disney with regard to Cinderella’s Castle. While the structure itself proved to be a relatively modern reconstruction, the walk to the top of the Castle proved to be more than worth it. The roof of the tower afforded breathtaking views of the city that looked untouched by time.
Realizing we were running out of time, Sarah and I started back through the town. We make a pit stop at Pasteleria Limon y Menta to partake of the delicious Ponche Segoviano dessert that is native to Segovia. Wolfing down our dessert we hightailed it to the aqueducts in one last time.
Arriving at our bus in the nick of time we were hungry, but as we thought we’d be back in Madrid in an hour we decided to wait to grab food. Alas, this is where our confusion with the kiosk bloomed into a mess that we couldn’t help but laugh about, after we’d eaten of course. See as we were looking at tickets there were two options, a nonstop one hour trip or a two and a half hour trip with many stops throughout. Well, if you haven’t guessed it yet, our ticket was the extended trip. We didn’t realize our mistake until 50 minutes into the ride. While we were quite hangry by the end, we were thankful for all the glimpses the little towns we were able to see throughout the never ending bus ride.
When we woke the next morning we packed our belongings and took the train back the the airport, concluding our Spain Adventure. Sarah and I had a wonderful, amazing time creating special memories that will last a lifetime, having soaked in the sights like a sponge. While we held Segovia and Ronda as two of our favorite cities we visited, Granada stands alone as the highlight of our trip. I hope you enjoyed reliving our trip through my series of posts. Now on the next trip! This summer I have my second cross country road trip with my brother Samuel and Half Dome in August!