No Car Needed (no. 11): Madrid To Segovia

No Car Needed – Madrid to Segovia

Those Roman dudes got around and left their huge aquaduct in Segovia. Only one hour by train from Madrid, this town, known for its vistas and architecture, also wins an award for delicious suckling pigs.  That is, if you are into pig.

By Lauren Linzer

Is it really possible to take a vacation from a vacation? Just as the overwhelming feeling of “I can’t believe I live in Madrid,” was starting to fade, I checked out a day trip to Segovia. Being smack dab in the middle of a culturally rich country certainly has its geographic perks.

Walled medieval cities and modest villages are easily accessible from Madrid.  To the north, Segovia is in a time warp, leaving visitors with no more than a muttered, “wow…” as each turn through the winding cobble stone streets reveals another incredulous site or view. Thie city is surrounded by snow capped mountains, two large rivers and overlooks lush tree tops.

Before entering the inner walls, I was greeted by one of Spain’s most puzzling architectural marvels, the Roman aqueduct. People told me of how impressive this mortar-free structure is, but I had not fully appreciated the structural scale until I lay eyes on the beast.  Peaking at 100 ft and running for 18 kilometers, it had carried water from the river to the town beginning in the the first century.

Granite walls run a three kilometer parameter around the village. Easily getting lost in the maze of cobble stone calles (streets), wanderers end up at the foot of the Alcazar of Segovia. This palace towers over the city and its iconic shape labels it as one of Spain’s most prominent castles. As I peered over the outer wall that stretched around the structure, the incredible views left me awe struck.

As I left, I stumbled upon the Gothic Cathedral that lies in the central plaza, Plaza Mayor, which has an endless array of distinctive peaks. The central square makes for a resting point as you absorb the experience and grab a bite to eat.  A trip to Segovia is complete with a meal of cochinillo, roasted suckling pig, one of Spain’s most famous dishes.

How to get there:   Northern train station in Madrid, Chamartin.  Just over an hour.

Lauren Linzer, from Raleigh, North Carolina, gave up the day to day grind of corporate sales to embrace life in Spain as an English teacher and travel writer in Madrid and the Canary Islands. She is the author of Linzer’s Adventure, a travel blog sharing personal accounts of life on the road and living abroad. Read more about her experiences at: http://www.linzersadventure.com/

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3 Comments

  1. Posted October 19, 2012 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    Segovia is home of my great grandmother’s family and I must have just missed you because I was there a couple of weeks ago visiting my aunt and also the Military Archive (which is in the Alcazar) checking up on some family history!

    You should mention that you still have to get a bus from AVE station to centre of Segovia – takes about 15 mins. Another option is bus from Madrid straight into centre of Segovia and about same time as AVE.

    For those with an interest in touring the province of Segovia Books4Spain has an up to date 1:200,000 map of the province from Spain’s equivalent to the UK’s ordnance survey: http://books4spain.com/book/detail/segovia-province-castile-and-leon-1

    There is also an interesting book based in Segovia, In the Kitchens of Castile by art critic and food journalist Gijs van Hensbergen where he describes his adventure in Segovia, home of the suckling pig and the famous Roman aquaduct, the oldest and most beautiful city in Castile, where he went in the hope of apprenticing himself to a major restaurant. He was soon working 12 hours a day, in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. Absorbed in the Castilian way of life, he rapidly learned the traditions – not only of the Castilian kitchen, but also of the architecture, literature, and agriculture. In this vibrant account, we read about wild boar hunts, 20-course banquets, and the most exclusive wine grape in the world. Written with wit and exuberance, In the Kitchens of Castile is a must for anyone interested in food, travel, and the history of Spain. http://books4spain.com/book/detail/in-the-kitchens-of-castile-1

  2. admin
    Posted October 19, 2012 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Thanks Rod for all the info. We always appreciate your addition to The Scoop!

  3. Posted March 5, 2013 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    We went by bus … and couldn’t get over how we had beautiful sunshine at one end of the tunnel through the mountains, and grey, drizzly and overcast at the other

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