The wonderful thing about living in Spain has got to be the heaps of public holidays and PUENTES. They are the best, and seeing as I work 7 days a week I try and squeeze everything I can out of them. In March I visited Segovia & Teledo; two small historic cities just half an hour from Madrid…
I haven’t indulged myself in ancient history since I arrived here in Spain, and it was only a matter of time before I needed to get my Roman fix. Segovia is nestled up in the mountains, north west of Madrid, was apparently founded by Hercules (?), but most certainly settled by the Romans. The centre of the old town is adorned by one of the most well preserved Roman aqueducts in Europe. The medieval town includes beautiful sandy city walls, the Alcazar that inspired Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Cathedrals, and muchos iglesias. There are also some teeny little museusms, a plaza mayor, and many traditional tapas bars to grab a bite in.
Really, it has everything you want for a stress-free day trip. We got up bright and early to catch the first cercanias train from Nuevos Ministerios. This is the cheaper but significantly more time consuming option (2 hours as opposed to half an hour), but the slow ride up through the mountains was pretty enough to make it worth it. Even so, we were in the city centre by 10am without a map or any clue what we were going to do. So we strolled up towards the aqueduct, past the catedral, the Jewish Quarter, city walls, and finally to the Alcazar. This all (including walking up to the top of the Alaczar to take in the views) took under 3 hours. After this, we were a little bored. We spent a loooong time walking back through the same streets, looking for vegetarian food, and debating whether to stay and check out Segovia by night. In the end, we were on our way home at 7 and in bed before midnight. The best advice I can give you is go a later in the day; the tourists groups have left, and you can enjoy some tapas and a few cervezas in the evening.
Eeeeveryone raves about Toledo, and too right! It really is a fairy tale, and we spent the entire day walking around with our mouths wide opening saying “Oh my gosh it’s soooo pretty”. It has everything you could ever think a medieval town needs; built on an acropolis, encircled by a moat, fortified with grand city walls that hug the tiny crooked and narrow houses tightly together. We took the second highspeed train of the day from Atocha, and arrived bright at early to glorious hot sunshine at 9:30am. This was another unplanned trip, so after arriving we just headed up a steep hill to what looked like the city in my lonely planet, and spent a good 10 minutes by the bridge taking in the views. We then climbed the rather steep stairs right to the top of the citadel, and aimlessly strolled for a good 3 hours.
To our delight, it turned out they have a MEDIEVAL MARKET on the other side of the city at the bottom of the city walls, selling all sorts of treats and handicrafts. This could not have been more perfect, until a medieval band marched past and I felt like I was a Stark girl in Kings Landing… We munched on pimientos and patatas bravas, before investing in some Tonto de Verano and finding a nice quiet spot to soak in the sun’s rays.
I would put a whole day aside for Toledo, but next time I’d bring a picnic and look into some of the walks you can do around by the river. We got a lot out of our day; we didn’t visit any cathedrals or museums because of the ol’ dinero, but had we done so we definitely would have been there until past dusk. It’s such a charming little city I could easily go back and visit several more times, and it is definitely a must on any expat’s to-do list whilst they’re living here in Madrid!