I’m not much of a sight-seer. Never have been, though I am getting better with age. Churches that were once deathly boring now fascinate me and I get giddy in museums that you may have found me dozing off in five years ago. That said, I’d almost always rather be wandering the streets of a new place instead of inside a building or staring at a monument, however historically important they may be. Segovia is full of so many marvels that I was equally as content exploring the Romanesque churches and examining the stunning aqueduct as I was taking in the energy of its streets.
An hour’s bus ride from Madrid, this ancient city could not differ more from the capital. It reminded me so much of Granada with its cobblestone streets and charming ambience, but had a distinct flavor of the north. Instead of Andalusia’s orange trees and falling wisteria, Segovia finds itself smack-dab in the desert of Castilla-Leon, under endless blue skies and hugged by thick greenery. Instead of lively tapas bars and seafood spots, Segovia’s winding alleys are filled with cozy asadores and taverns offering the local special, cochinillo, roasted suckling pig, as well as pig cooked every way you could imagine (and some you’d rather not).
Early on a Saturday morning, I watched the city wake up. Families trickled into the plazas for cafe con leche with their grandparents and furry friends, and I got a glimpse into what life might be like in this land of centuries passed. I made friends with a pair of light-eyed Moroccan boys playing futbol and blasting Gangnam Style in the calle, chased down all the sweet puppies I could find and simply let my eyes wander for hours. I liked what I saw.
Segovia is for romantics. For lovers. For those who let their minds churn as their eyes drink in the wonders before them.
Your senses are assaulted upon arrival with the sight of the glorious aqueduct obscuring the city only slightly, its arches letting the scent of roasted meats waft through. Your passage through Segovia’s front door of sorts is rewarded with gem after gem: carefully crafted windows in centuries-old homes overflowing with flowers, the most breathtaking gothic cathedral you’ll ever lay your eyes on, and the former abode of infamous Reina Isabela. The mixture of hugely important historical institutions and the tiny details the watchful eye catches in the alleyways of Segovia could keep even the most temperamental soul contented for days. Throw in a plate of cochinillo, a bottle of red and a long siesta with the Spanish grandpas in Plaza Mayor and you may be tempted to stay forever.
The Spanish know how to live. Each city I visit proves that to me, though they all choose distinct paths. Whatever they do, they do it right.
According to my heart, Spain just might be the place.