The fifth day of our trip (April 02nd 2014) was for Segovia , again a single day trip from Madrid. On this day we decided not to lose our train and we were on time (even though we had to hurry a little bit) from Sol to Chamartin and then from there take the train to Segovia which is less than 30 mins travel by train.Once we arrived at the station, it was quite cloudy and looked like it might rain heavily. Instead of taking the bus, this time we chose the taxi after we had our breakfast in the station. It was quite a small and nice station actually. It was even drizzling while we were on the way. Our first stop was to Alcazar of Segovia which was quite far enough by taxi. But we were early, even after our breakfast break and the Alcazar opens only after 10 am. So we decided to go to the Cathedral first and then come back. There weren’t many tourists at that time and these places were slightly on the uphill when we reached.
The roads were not entirely deserted but there were hardly any people on our way to the Cathedral via the road just opposite to the Alcazar. Again uphill, so it was quite a walk around.If you see the map, you can see the Alcazar on the left hand side and then from there the walk to the Cathedral is a little round about. In fact we got lost and we werent sure which way to go (the GPS was on but still we were slightly confused). After going around the whole side while seeing a Synagogue on the way and another small church we finally ended up in the entrance of the Cathedral and then found out that we were actually almost there, but then took another turn and went anti clock wise surrounding the Cathedral. What a drama early in the morning 🙂
It is a very quiet Cathedral and there was a room where the service was going on where we werent allowed and no photographs were allowed there. But in other places, they had this sensor where in when you step into the enclosure the lights will go on and will give you a good view of the structures and paintings. We saw mostly old folks in this and very very less tourists or may be we were very early for the day. We were taking photos and almost at the end when we sat for praying a little, one lady who was passing by informed us not to use flash. I don’t usually like to use flash, but it was a little too late for that anyway. After the visit to the Cathedral , we walked our way back to the Alcazar. Now this is a castle which is said to have been one of the inspirations for the Walt Disney’s Castle. No wonder. It does look a little like that. And since it was pretty deserted we had a lot of time and space to look around the museums, the armory rooms (and there were some work going on in some rooms), a church inside and some beautiful view of the city and cathedral from the Alcazar.
It also has a separate entrance for the tower which has 152 steps or so. But they have a disclaimer that it is at your own risk. By the time we finished the castle and came back to the entrance to go to the tower, there were quite a few people, most of them were school children. (Every where we went we could see at the least 3 school groups coming to that place…weird huh!) Now as soon as they saw this disclaimer, my friends recommended me to stay put in the same place and not try to climb and break anything. I admonished them and let B carry my backpack with the lens and stuff and I had the camera alone with me and started the climb. Boy, was it hard. It was too steep and it did not have anything to hold also. Gee, talk about using up all my energy early in the morning. I am the oldest in the group and had just recovered from a few injuries, so granted I felt tired and aching soon, but even others also felt the pain by the time we reached the top. And I gave a whoop of joy that I made it. It wasn’t that bad, but the steepness of the steps made it scary. We did take our share of photographs and got one of the group with the help of a kind single lady who had come up and later helped her with one too. Once that is done, now came the scary part. Coming down without anything to hold on to. My God, I was too scared to do it. So obviously I was the one to go first and I did it very very slowly, testing B’s patience 😉 Even A got a little apprehensive and kept asking if we already there. Once we came back down, I really had to breathe a sigh of relief. For such little steps it did take a toll on my energy and heart rate. I needed something to drink very badly.
They have a cafe near the ticket counter which is outside the castle and we went there to have a bite and a drink to energize ourselves and once we relaxed a bit, we started our way to walk through Plaza Mayor (yeah again crossing the Cathedral) to look for the route towards Aqueduct. From Plaza Mayor you have almost 7 or 8 directions of roads going everywhere, so even with GPS we were confused. We then had to go to the tourist information office and find out the actual small road that we have to take and then walked all our way back to the Aqueduct. Now that , if you see in the map, looks a long way down the road, and it is. But when the aqueduct is revealed (we see it on our way up to Alcazar actually) it looks so grand. It is a huge plaza of sorts too where people can gather around and a nice place to relax even. Of course it was slightly crowded with all school kids and tourists. A and C stopped near the duct and I went up half way through the stairs for some photos and B went all the way up the stairs for some good views and to see how it looks like. After sometime there, we crossed the road to go to the bus station , according to the GPS and then again there were so many damn cross roads we weren’t able to figure which one to take even with the map and GPS.
Then we gave up and asked a few people around and finally two guys who were going that way explained us the route and in fact they were also going half way through there. It is almost in the V shape from where we came from Plaza Mayor to Aqueduct. We walked our way back and ended up in the bus station. We had very little time for our next stop to Palacio Real de La Granja. We weren’t hungry (except for me who wanted a coffee, but it was taking so long that I gave up and went to the bus stand exactly when the bus arrived). The bus from Segovia bus station to the Royal Palace of La Granja takes around 20-30 mins and it had started drizzling and then some raining on the way. By the time the bus actually stopped before the palace entrance it was quite a heavy drizzle actually and very cold too. Thank God I had my big and heavy sweater and some mufflers and gloves too (even though wearing all that I did look like some alien or something). The place was totally totally deserted. Not a single soul other than us. Where did everyone go ? May be they saw that it was gonna rain and no one ventured out. It was all just us.
Inside the palace, we are not allowed to take photographs,and there is a separate locker room as usual. And it is not a small palace at all. In fact we did not cover everything, but still it took us enough time. Not as grand as the Madrid palace either. It had more statues than paintings or may be equal number of those, with specific themes everywhere. Once we were done with the Palace, I went back and got my camera alone to use it in the gardens. There too no other soul other than us. And the sad part was it was still drizzling and the gardens were dry and the fountain show which usually would take place there wasn’t happening because renovation is going on (may be that is the reason people didn’t come out there). That is one big , huge , garden out there. With so many sculptures and statues decorating it. It was lovely. But it was the autumn so it was more golden than anything. We went around taking pictures, talking , relaxing, enjoying the wind, the rain, the chill and just spending time. Even though we were alone it was also sort of nice. I liked it. No one to look over you, just us. Finally after a long long long walk and tired legs, we decided to walk back. There was this big circle with all the statues on all sides (almost 6 or 8 I think) and then the 10 headed dragon statue and from there we can see another view of the palace.
See those green nets ? They are renovating there, that is why it is covered. After the long long way back and via the cloak room we walked back and on our way found only one small restaurant open (nothing was opened inside) and had some snacks and coffee (way past our lunch time) and then once we were energized, we walked back to the bus stand (there is one just in the entrance of the palace) and waited for our bus. The original plan was to go back to Segovia and spend some time there, have dinner and then catch the train to Madrid (a reserved one too). But by the time we came back to the station, we were very tired and didn’t have enough energy left. So we took a bus from the same station to Madrid directly and boarded it. I slept half of the time on our way back. And it was raining very heavily as and when we were nearing Madrid and in Madrid it was full downpour. The bus actually stops in an underground and from there the metro is easily accessible , so you don’t even have to come to the streets. We took the trian from Principe Rio to Opera and from there to Sevilla , the station just opposite to our hotel. We had some rest and then for dinner went to a Paella specialty restaurant, which was quite costly but was very very tasty in Gran Via. I did get a little tipsy there from the 2 glasses of wine and very less Veg Paella that I had. And when we walked back to the room , I slept like the dead.