When I was in Madrid we took a day trip to the town of Segovia, about an hour north of the city, over the mountains.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and definitely worth a visit. The Roman Aqueduct, the cathedral and the Alcazar (Royal Palace) are surrounded by old houses and shops and the main square was a lovely place to have an al fresco lunch.
Walking from the bus station to the town centre the first thing that strikes you is the number of churches in the town, but then you reach the aqueduct and the town ramps up a gear.....built in AD50, 2 tiers of arches carried water to the old walled city, bringing to the end the water's 18km journey along man-made canals from the Rio Frio. The aqueduct itself is over 800m long and at it's highest stands 28.5m tall.
The cathedral was the last gothic cathedral built in Spain, constructed during the 16th century - it really looked like a wedding cake!
We ate lunch in one of the many cafes on the main square. It was warm and sunny and I was happy to be eating outside. These are croquetas filled with one of the delicacies of the region, suckling pig (sorry vegetarians).
The square in spring time - no leaves on the trees yet, but still mild enough to be outside.
Another church! Just look at that blue blue sky!
Carvings on an archway - just the door of someone's house!
Just the door-handle of someone's house!
A view of the city from the Alcazar - the black dot in the sky is a kite - these amazing birds of prey were everywhere.
The Alcazar - started in the 11th century - and some say the model for Disney's Castle.
Peacock in the grounds of the Alcazar.
Perhaps the most exciting thing for me were the storks! Just returned from Africa to nest....
Just outside the walls beyond the city is the Iglesia de la Vera Cruz (the Church of the True Cross), founded by the Knights Templar in the 12th century. It is a 12 sided building, with another 12 sided structure inside.
Looking back to the Alcazar from the Iglesia de la Vera Cruz.
A fantastic day trip from Madrid - thanks Mariana and Maria for your company!