Yesterday was my first day-trip of the from Salamanca (hopefully the first of many!). We left Salamanca at 8am to travel to Segovia, another city further north in the region, two and a bit hours away.
It was a trip I was really looking forward to, as from what I heard from many people Segovia is a beautiful city, well-known for the tallest free-standing Roman aqueduct in Europe that stands to this day and also its royal alcazár (castle) which was the centre of the royal monarchy before the royal court moved to Madrid many centuries ago. From looking at public transport between Salamanca-Segovia, it did not look too promising, because there are few frequent connections by bus and there is no train line altogether. The opportunity to go with the ESN was therefore just the ticket. The trip also did a stop at Ávila on the way back which was an added bonus.
As I have mentioned quite a few times already, it is very cold at the moment in Salamanca. Although I had been warned Segovia was roughly 100m higher in altitude and much colder than here, I was not prepared for the freezing cold weather that awaited me there despite wearing the warmest clothes I had brought with me! Segovia is worth the trip in winter as it truly is beautiful, but if you have the opportunity, go when the weather is a bit better! There were still a few tourist groups when we visited but I am guessing it was much quieter than it would be in July.
During our tour of Segovia in the morning, it was snowing as we were walking around the historic sites of the city and our guide made us jump up and down a few times to ease our suffering. By the time we arrived at the alcazár, we thought we had reached refuge, however there was no heating system in existence inside, and it felt like outside was warmer than in!
Walking around Segovia, one of its main features are the beautiful buildings you find walking around the centre. A famous one, being the Casa de los Picos (pictured below) and others, which were influenced by the strong Jewish, Arab and Christian presence in the region, featuring intricate patterns. The alcazár itself is extremely ornate, especially its ceilings, of which I must have taken the majority of my photos. The exterior can be identified for its many towers which may have been the inspiration for the ‘Disney castle,’ although the palace doesn’t own the rights to be able to say that officially! It does look quite magical, but if it had been a little warmer, my guesses are that I would have been able to appreciate it more, instead of trying to get the circulation back in my feet which felt like they were going to drop off!
After a few hours of sightseeing, we luckily were able to thaw ourselves inside for lunch with warm food and drink, just in time to go back out into the cold to take the bus to Avila.
Ávila was just as cold unfortunately and the main highlight of this town are its famous city walls. Despite our intensions to walk along the historic walls, we were unable to due to the bad weather (health and safety with the snow/ice and all that – I would rather be safe than sorry though!) so it felt like a bit of a waste of time as there was not much to do there during siesta time. We found a café for more hot drinks before piling into the bus to head back to Salamanca, cold, exhausted and in need of a hot shower and bed!
It was an exhausting day and I was grateful for the long lie in I had this morning. Despite having the strongest of intensions to crash in bed straight after arriving back in my flat at 8pm last night, I went out looking at some flats with Becca who is still looking for a place to live. Unfortunately, these flats were rather unpleasant so the search continues. I am feeling quite lucky to have found the flat I am living in. I felt rather keen after I had secured my room all the way back in June 2014 after seeing an ad on a Facebook Erasmus group asking for a new flatmate for semester 2; looking back, I am quite grateful I did. It’s spotlessly clean as we have a cleaning rota, my room is small but includes everything I need, it’s in a good enough location and I live with Spanish students which avoids me speaking English with them. Although I have been living here a week now, I still haven’t paid anything for my room. I’m still waiting for the landlord to turn up so I can pay him my deposit and rent. It’s quite surreal as this would never happen at home, but I am just going with the flow. I’m sure he’s going to want the money at some point.
After choosing some classes for my timetable, I have realised I am going to have 9am classes every day this semester, which will be interesting… Most of the classes I want to take clash which has been a bit of a headache, but apparently I may only need to take a maximum of 4 classes and not 5 like I previously thought, which would be a huge relief.
In other major news, I finally received my exam results from university last semester in France. I’m still waiting for two exam results which I should get back soon, but I managed to pass all the others which has made my day/week/month/semester/life. I even passed the most difficult class of them all, narrative literature, which I was expecting to fail, so I am quite made up right now!
Have you been to Segovia?
What top places do you want to visit in Spain?