Picking activities during a summer trip is usually pretty easy. In the winter however, it takes a little more effort, bravery, warm layers and a daring pack of travel buddies. You’ll need each other to keep warm, by way of cuddles , and lots of conversation to keep the mind active so it doesn’t freeze from the cold. The resulting team spirit also means less chances of sitting out or bailing on top sites to take cover in a warm café, or heading home early; which would be easily tempting during a solo trip on a cold winter day.
Here is one great must do destination while in Madrid. Take a quick train ride to a nearby town with top historic sites. Think, Segovia! Not only do you get to tour a culture rich historic city, but you'll also take in beautiful views of the landscape between Madrid and Segovia. Fog covered farmlands, ice topped mountains, and roman bridges.
Read on for tips from our Madrid to Segovia day trip taken on December 27, 2018.
When we travel, we mix it up. Have an itinerary which leaves room for a wiggle. Unplanned activities keep things exciting, and makes holidays feel less like routine....so a few weeks ago we impulsively joined group of friends who had planned a trip to Segovia. For Edu, it meant taking a random day off and buying tickets at the last minute. For me, it meant having a few hours to shop for warm shoes, and an early morning on travel day. Spontaneity - a sure way to spice up life.
Our arrival in Segovia started off on an adventurous tip. We needed to take a bus into town from the train station. Just so we didn't have to wait to long, we took a bus which wasn't marked with our destination. Risky business I'd say, but we were in Spain, and everyone I was with was a Spaniard so I went along.
I'm glad I can say it was well worth it. We got where we needed to go.
Here's a link you can use if you'd rather not be this adventurous.
Segovia is a quick and comfortable 2 hour ride from Madrid on the Renfe train. There's about 91 km between Madrid Chamartrin station, where you can catch the train from Madrid, and, Segovia Guiomar station from where you will need to take a bus to Segovia's main tourism site, Acueducto de Segovia. This Roman Aqueduct was built in the early 2nd century to provide a reliable water supply for the city. It is a grand stone masterpiece of Roman hydraulic engineering which consists of 167 arches, with a maximum height of 28.10 metres. Its full length is 16,186 meters. In 1884, it was declared a National Monument. Since 1985, it has been a World Heritage Site, and rightfully so. It is a thing of wonder!
The city offers a lot of other beautiful historic sites such as the Segovia Cathedral, Segovia Alcázar, City Wall, churches spread across the city, and much more which could not be seen in a single day.
Iglesia De San Millán Segovia (Church of San Millan Segovia)
Segovia Cathedral is an absolute beauty to behold; which I only did from the outside as the queue to enter was a bit long. Gives me an excuse to go back. It’s grand stature, delicate design and detailing made my jaw drop. It was even more beautiful when the sun shone upon it, and birds circled it as the sun set. Though I must admit my love of sunsets might present a slight bias. It might be a good idea to book ahead and get tickets which enable you to skip the line. Going straight in rather than queuing up in the cold weather would be a definite plus.
Catedral de Segovia (Cathedral of Segovia / Segovia Cathedral)
The historic Alcázar of Segovia is known to have inspired the castles in Disney films you and I have enjoyed since childhood. OK, I don’t know about you, but I most certainly have. Think Snow White, Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast…you get the picture, right? A tour of this palace features 11 chambers, a garden, and the Juan II tower for which you need to be prepared to climb 152 flights of stairs. While others chose to go it in heels, flats would be my personal preference. The climb is so steep you’ll get enough warning at the ticket counter, right before you purchase your ticket. Proceed at your own risk!
Alcázar de Segovia (The Alcázar of Segovia / Segovia Alcázar)
Views of Segovia from the top of the castle are nothing short of beautiful. The blue sky with hints of thin clouds made it even more beautiful; and the warmth of the sun was more than welcome. Inside the Alcázar what struck me most where the uniquely designed ceilings of each chamber, glass art, and a collection of well-preserved weapons dating from varied periods during which historic events occurred.
Building facades lining the streets of Segovia showcase unique admirable artistry. The pattern carries on from old to modern buildings, giving the town its charming character. Varied creative souvenir shops and stalls line the streets, offering many gift options to choose from. The most memorable one for me is the artisan Geovanny U.Cataneda. He collects coins from around the world, and carves them into beautiful pendants, some more than others depending on the original design of the coin. He had pendants of the South African Rand, Kenyan Shilling, and many others; all stunning pieces. I mention the African ones deliberately. I'm African and it's always sweet when I see the continent and its countries showcased positively in other continents.
Food is always a huge part of my visits to Spain. During the trip to Segovia, we booked lunch for 2.30 pm (Spanish meal times are generally much later than that of the rest of the world) at El Jogon Sefardi Restaurante, where everything has such a fancy name even the Spaniards weren’t sure what some of the words meant! Three tasty entradas later (served tapas style), I had a fancily named Turkey dish which turned out to be a huge, delicious Turkey Souffle. If you're crazy about chocolate, there's enough of that in Spain to keep your cravings in satisfied.
My stomach would have burst along the seems had we not walked it off as the tour continued after lunch. Add a little bit of running as we arrived at Segovia Guiomar station just as our train back to Madrid was about to depart! Risky business.
"I bought tickets to Segovia for tomorrow. You need warm boots." Yay, a justifiable reason to go shopping! Nope, not yay. I used to be a shopaholic. Now? Well now I don't enjoy shopping so much. At some point after my recovery, everything you find in a clothing store decided to stop talking to me. I'd like to think of it as a conspiracy. 'How dare she call us addictive; let's also quit her; who does she think she is anyway'. In case you haven't caught on, this is my imagined conversation between the clothes, shoes and accessories in any shop I enter. Fast forward, I buy a pair of knee high boots. The kind every cold fearing Zimbabwean female pulls out as soon as June announces arrival. Back home, 20 degree weather is winter. No, you won't understand this until you've lived under the beautiful African sun on my side of the continent. Needless to say, this was not the best shoe for a full of day walking in 10 to 4 degree weather. They were comfortable through daytime; until I sat down on the train back and my legs felt like stiff metal rods on ice! To be continued in an upcoming post.....Possible title - Moving from the tropics to cold regions.