Friday, June 15, 2012

Segovia, A World Heritage Site

With my training on the Time Trial course finished yesterday I decided that it was time to explore. Once racing starts on Friday there will be no time for exploring at all, I will be all business then.

I was able to hitch a ride with coach Paul and the tandem guys Bryce and Jamo into town and I grabbed a bite of lunch with them and then it was into the tourist bureau for me. Armed with an information book and a map of the city I headed off. As I stated in an earlier post I love history. Wish I loved it as a kid because then I might know a bit more!

The other day driving back to Segovia it was a brilliant site, very romantic and something out of ancient times. With the town bordered by a stone wall, the cathedral standing out amongst the other buildings it's steeples reaching to the clouds and the castle behind it almost as if still protecting it, you can almost feel like you have gone back in time. Segovia has a very long history, the magnificent Aqueduct was built when it was part of the Roman Empire. Historians believe the city was abandoned after the Islamic invasion and was repopulated starting in the late 11th century. It is such an amazing place that in 1985, UNESCO included the Old City of Segovia and its Aqueduct in the World Heritage list.

I made my way through some of the small winding streets constantly moving up towards the cathedral. The cathedral is on the edge of the "Plaza Mayor" (main plaza). This area reminded me a lot of Venice with numerous restaurants around the plaza. I continued past the cathedral looking for the the Alcazar (the castle) and the wall that surrounds the city. Almost immediately from out of a small narrow street I came upon this magnificent building.(I am told that Walt Disney designed his castle upon this one.) the deep moat and drawbridge to enter this fortress has existed since the time of the Celts.

I toured through the castle rooms which contained some magnificent original furniture, paintings and carpets, along with an Armoury housing an amazing collection of armaments dating from different times. I made my way down into the foundations of the building which are said to be medieval. Don't know if I would want to be in there during the night!

I then climbed the 152 steps to the top of the tower. What a magnificent view from the top! The tower was used as a state prison and believe me there would be no escaping from this! The number of photos I took will most likely come out alL looking the same but as I said the view was amazing and well worth the climb! Once back on terra firma I made my way along the wall to what was once known as the Jewish quarter and where views of the Jewish necropolis can be seen which lies on the other side of the Clamores Valley. I continued towards the back of the cathedral eventually coming around to the entrance.

The original Cathedral called Santa Maria was of Romanesque style. In 1521 during the Comuneros War, the old church was destroyed and construction of the Cathedral as we see it today was started in 1525 but wasn't consecrated until July 1768, so it took 247 years to build!

After having a look in the cathedral and taking photos which were not supposed to be taken, I headed to the nearest cafe to rest and indulge in a cappacino. It was here that I got the inspiration to call my sister. Had a great conversation with her finding out that she and my mom will be coming to London to watch me race! That was very exciting news!

I then had the urge to shop and bought some gifts to take home. Obviously I can't say what I bought or certain people reading this blog will know!

Then headed back down to the Aqueduct to sit and have a cold drink. I love watching people and what a great place to do it. A mixture of tourists and locals, but probably more tourists. The roundabout right at the Aqueduct is a hive of activity, not quite sure how cars don't hit each other, but move smoothly through it like a choreographed dance. I could hear many languages Spanish, French, Japanese and English just to name a few. There were families, lovers, friends, school groups, old, young and in between, all mixing in the same space almost unaware of each other. It is such a vibrant place.

I then met up with the rest of the team and walked back to the Plaza Mayor, we're we had a drink and then some dinner. It rounded up a fantastic day with some great food, a few good laughs and some wonderful company, my teammates. We have one more day of training in which we are going to look at the Road Race course and the the World Cup begins! I can't wait to race again, Time Trial on Friday!


  1. Best of luck my dear friend! I am so extremely proud of you, your intestinal fortitude is exemplary, and your humanity priceless-precious to all.
    I love you very much dear Angel, you are a piece of my soul, your friendship is one of the best Christmas presents I have ever received.
    :0) Peace-Love-Harmony-Happiness-Tranquility-Hugzzzzzzzz...