Part 6: Madrid Day 4 -- Day Trip to Segovia (A)


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The Trip

We decided to take a day trip to see Segovia and the Alcazar castle.  We took the high speed train and it was only 30 minutes (at 155mph), an easy ride by anyone's standards.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

The high-speed trains have the shovel-style nose to keep the train on the track.

From the train window I spotted what I thought to be the Roman aqueduct, but upon closer inspection it appears to be a highway bridge.  If only a bridge, it is an ornate bridge, that is for sure.

The train tracks go through a very long tunnel that goes through the mountains.  Note there is still snow on the peaks.

Electric trains require a lot of track-side infrastructure to operate.  We got a taxi at the train station and made the trip into Segovia.

Our first view of the Alcazar castle from the window of the taxi.  An impressive structure built upon the site of the old Roman fortress.

The castle suffered a large fire and was subsequently rebuilt in the 1800s.  This looks like something out of a Disney movie.

Plenty of stairways in this place.

A moat was dug out of the cliffs to help deter would-be attackers.

Plenty of material was extracted and likely used to build the walls of the castle.

About half way down the wall of the moat is an access door for reasons unknown.

Inside the Alcazar, there were nice displays of ancient weaponry.  I am sure that armor was not much fun during the Spanish summer.

There was nice stained glass on a number of the windows.

The ceilings of a number of the halls were inlaid with intricate patterns.  The ceilings were very high, perhaps 100 feet.

More intricate designs on the vaulted ceilings.

No dates were provided for the stained glass.

This hall had statues of each of the kings/queens that have ruled the Alcazar.  If you have good eyes and can read Spanish, the descriptions are below each statue.

Another "excessive" ceiling.

A chapel within the Alcazar.

Wood and stone inlay in the ceiling.

From the upper ramparts of the Alcazar we had a clear view of the river valley below.  It was a long, long way down.

The dark specks in the wall are sharp stone that is embedded into the motor as a deterrent, not unlike medieval barb wire.

From the rampart wall we could see a formal garden far below, but not accessible to tourists.  You can just see the orchard in bloom at the right of the photo above.

The weapon that changed warfare.  The cross bow was able to defeat armor, thus rendering it useless.  Hard to cock and slow to fire, but very, very effective.  Two steel bolts are visible in the lower right portion of the photo above.

A medieval mortar for tossing large stones.

A set of calipers to measure the diameter of projectiles.

A detailed crest over one of the archways.

A different crest with modern wiring visible.

Steve was nice enough to take a shot of us leaving the Alcazar.

From the Alcazar we walked up the hill against a wave of bus tourists to get to the center of Segovia.  This is the Plaza Mayor as they were setting up for the Semana Santa parade.

There were nice buildings and shops around the perimeter of the plaza.

Interesting apartments on the rim of Plaza Mayor.

Our objective was a restaurant that served suckling pig.  Kathleen was really on the ball and got us reservations.  The place was a mad house with huge Semana Santa crowds.

Next: The Roman Aqueduct.

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