Yesterday we all loaded up on the bus and made the two-hour trek to Segovia. It was a lot more tourist-y there than it is here in Salamanca, and it was easy to see why: everything was beautiful. I’ll be posting a gallery of pictures tomorrow when my Wi-Fi isn’t running at a speed that even the turtle family from those Comcast ads would find slow. For now I’ll do my best to describe some of the sights. As we approached, I let out a little “wow” when I caught my first glimpse of one its most famous attractions–the Alcazar. The Alcazar is a castle’s castle. It was home to the royal family of Spain for centuries, and the suits of armor, paintings, and decorations inside were just as amazing as the architecture on the outside. Legend has it that it was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s castle logo, which is no surprise once you see how incredible it is in person. “Legend has it” was something we heard a lot in Segovia, with seemingly every attraction in the city having its own corresponding myth. My personal favorite was the legend surrounding the Roman Aqueduct, another of Segovia’s famous structures.
According to our tour guide Maria, the legend states that a girl used to carry water from the river back to the town every day. One day, the devil appeared to her and said he would build the aqueduct for her on the condition that she give him her soul. Thinking how much easier her life would be, she agreed and added a condition of her own: that it had to be built in one day. The deal was made, and the devil got to work. Not long after, the girl started to regret her decision. She prayed to God to help her and told Him of her pact with the devil. Taking pity on her, God made the sun rise earlier than normal, just before the devil was able to place the last stone on the aqueduct. Because he couldn’t finish it in one day, the girl got to keep her soul and the aqueduct still stands today.
This was one of a few different legends Maria shared with us during our tour. She also shared a hidden talent for singing, which she displayed in the Corpus Christi church towards the end of the day. After we left Segovia, we rode for another hour to Avila, famous for the walls that surround the city. The were built sometime during the 12th century, and still stand today. There wasn’t much to do there other than admire the view of the city from a vantage point outside the walls, but that alone was worth the trip. It was one of the amazing views I’ve ever seen. All in all, it was a fantastic trip and an unforgettable experience.
Now, I’m off the to theater to grill some Spaniards about their movie watching habits.