One day, I read online this quote: “Take vacations, go as many places as you can. You can always make money, you can’t always make memories”. This quote is what triggered me to travel almost every weekend I have to rest while in Spain. Moreover, I have the whole winter to rest, but I have just one summer in Spain. Madrid is a city that offers a lot of guided tours, day trips, so that this made easier to find a place where to go. I found a tour in Ávila and Segovia for 80 euros, and the guide was giving the tour in both Spanish and English. This tour was offered by Julia Travels.
The bus left in the city center, so the meeting point was easy to reach. In addition, it was a comfortable bus trip, with comfortable seats, wifi, and air conditioning. After an hour an a half of trip, we reached Ávila, the first city of the tour, located in the autonomous community of Castile and Leon. Another way this city is known is as the Town of Stones and Saints, because it is one of the towns with the highest number of Romanesque and Gothic churches.
Our first stop was in a viewpoint of the Walls of Ávila, built during the Middle Ages. The walls have 88 blocks or semicircular towers. It is possible to walk upon the walls, but we didn’t do it for a lack of time.
The second stop was the Basilica of San Vicente, a structure similar to the Latin basilicas. It has a latin cross plan, three naves, and a crypt. The crypt is the tomb of Saint Peter of the Boat, the Holy Brothers Martyrs, and Saint Vincent of Ávila.
We then crossed the Puerta of San Vicente (Saint Vincent Gate), the main gate of the walls that surround the city. We walked through the city, we passed next to the Cathedral, Plaza Mayor, that used to have the same use as the one in Madrid. We walked until we reached the Convento de San José (Convent of Saint Joseph), the first monastery of Discaled Carmelite nuns founded by Saint Teresa of Jesus. The church was designed by architect Francisco de Mora and it is a national monument since 1968. It was built over the solarium of Teresa’s house, the one where she was born. After we visited the church, we walked back to the bus.
After a 50 minutes ride, we reached the city of Segovia, another Roman city. In addition, this city and its Aqueduct were declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO. It is possible to see in the old city a multitude of historic buildings both civil and religious, including a large number of buildings of jewish origin.
The first thing we visited was a part of the Aqueduct, in Plaza Azoguejo. Fun fact: it is still used to deliver drinking water. Here the guide gave us free time to eat something, and I decided to eat something cheap. I ate at 100 Montaditos, a place that sells small sandwiches for 1 euro each.
Then I walked through the Jewish Quarter until I reached the meeting point, in Plaza Mayor. It is one of the best places in the city, because it offers a beautiful view on the cathedral. Moreover, it is full of tapas restaurants and shops. it also has a beautiful gazebo in the center of the square.
After we all catched up, we visited the catedral. It is the last Gothic cathedral built in Spain. It is considered a masterpiece of Basque-Castillan Gothic architecture and is known as “The Lady of Cathedrals”.
We concluded the visit of the city at the Alcazar of Segovia, the royal palace built on a stone peninsula between the rivers Eresma and Clamores. In one of the rooms it is possible to see the sculpture of every king that Castilla had. Rumor has it that this is one of the castles that inspired Walt Disney when he designed the Cinderella one.
My thoughts on this trip are all positive, because the guide was superbe and the cities were amazing. In addition, I had the best nap ever on the way back.