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Regal Segovia

Our 700th Blog Entry

semi-overcast 12 °C

This is the seven hundredth time that we have posted about our Blissful Adventures around the world and, thanks to Covid, it is exactly four years since we last celebrated a centennial. The world has changed in so many ways since our six hundreth blog in South America and many of our travel plans over the past two years were, initially, merely postponed, but eventually dropped altogether. And, because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the lingering effects of the pandemic, some places on our bucket list may have to wait for sometime. While we are enormously grateful that much of the world is re-opening for us to explore, we are saddened by the fact that several of our faithful armchair followers are no longer able to travel along with us. Perhaps Eileen, Vera, Jean, and James' cousin Roy, are still with us in spirit as we continue to shine a spotlight on the brighter parts of this hurting world. Today we are in one of those brighter places: Segovia in central Spain where there is fresh snow on the surrounding mountains...
We knew it would be colder when we took the train from Madrid high into the Guadarama mountains to the ancient city of Segovia, but even the locals had been surprised by a heavy dump of snow the previous day. By the time we arrived, the snow had disappeared from the city streets and the fairytale castle, the Alcazar, was bathed in bright sunshine...
The Alcazar of Segovia is, in every respect, a museum of Spanish royal life and was used by Walt Disney as a model for the castle in the 1950 movie, Cinderella. Much of it was built by King Alfonso VIII and Eleanor, his English wife, in the 12th century, but later monarchs made many improvements and additions. Another English queen by marriage, Catherine of Lancaster, added the great Hall of the Galley in 1412. The enormous gilded ceiling is said to represent the upturned hull of a galley...
As we wander from one magnificent hall to the next we can picture the great ceremonial occasions that were held here when this was the primary residence of the kings and queens of Spain...
One royal resident, King Philip II of Spain, briefly became king of England by marrying Queen Mary in 1554, but when she died in 1558 Philip sent his great Spanish Armada to invade England and dethrone Mary's successor, Elizabeth I. And we all know how that turned out! The Alcazar of Segovia has had so many occupants and uses that entire books are written about it. Suffice for us to say - just look at King Philip's fabulous throne room...
The Cathedral of Segovia is equally impressive...
The opulent decoration and religious artwork in the numerous side chapels rivals that of any of the world's best known cathedrals and the 300ft high bell tower and the vaulted ceilings are breathtaking...
The narrow cobbled streets inside the walls of the old city of Segovia are lined with touristy shops and cafes - many offering the obligatory morning snack of churros and hot chocolate. However, in Spain, the hot chocolate is so rich and thick that you can actually stand a spoon up in it...
The entire Medieval city of Segovia was protected by a virtually impregnable wall that forms the foundation for many of today's buildings...
But Segovia was a city long before the middle ages and many of its buildings, including the castle, stand on Roman foundations. One of Segovia's most important archeological artefacts is a Roman aqueduct that has been delivering water to the city from springs in the nearby mountains for two thousand years...
With more than a hundred and fifty slender stone arches bridging the valley beneath the old city walls, this is one of the finest examples of Roman architecture still standing in the world and still in use today.
It is still cool in the mountains so we are now heading back to the warmth of the south and another Medieval city - Toledo.

Posted by Hawkson 08:28 Archived in Spain

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Those ancient man-made constructions are breathtaking, in their beauty and longevity! Thanks for shining a spotlight on this “bright spot in our hurting world”. Intrepid travellers! The hot chocolate looks wonderfully sustaining!

by Alison Fitzgerald

That aqueduct is amazing. Still intact after so many years despite its delicate design. An engineering and masonry marvel. Wonder the nature of the mortar to keep those stones in place resisting what must have been the occasional ground shift.
Hot chocolate and apple tart? Mouth watering.

by R and B

What a glorious place including the hot chocolate. You got everyone's attention by the stand up spoon in the hot chocolate.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Great introduction to one of the many cities I missed on my travels in Spain. Spectacular setting. On my list now. Interesting that the alcazar was the model for Cinderella. Pretty enterprising location scouts. Nice work if you can get it.

by Tom Whalley

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