“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.”

~ Title quote by James Michener

Our backpacks are ready to make their last trek of this trip, and we see the ever impressive Aqueduct as we leave the hostal.Spain-1040888rhp  We saunter to the Segovia, Spain bus station, drinking in the sights before we head to Madrid so we can fly back home to cold, wintry Minnesota.

Spain-1050295dmvWe pass by the butcher shop with its unique (to us) featured products.  What is that large white item in the window?  Pig stomachs? Brains appear to be on the lower shelf.

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Last chance for shopping. Spain-1040851 Spain-1040852
We’ve learned that completing challenges in life can be an empowering experience.

Spain-1040845Last chance for a group photo before we go our separate ways.

Spain-1050307I look out the bus window to see this trio sharing a good laugh.

Could it be the sight of Randy and his “harem” of women getting on the bus that is tickling their funny bones?

Spain-1040355dmvWe’ve been living out of backpacks for about 2 1/2 weeks now and the comfortable feeling of home is calling our names.  This whole Camino experience has had a surreal feel to it and I often had to remind myself that it wasn’t a dream.  The Camino has been a unique experience in that we not only visited Spain, but also visited with people from all over the world, joining us in the communal mission of reaching Santiago on the Way of St. James. Gives a United Nations feel to the Camino.  Plus, the side trip to Segovia was just icing on the cake.

Walking the Camino de Santiago may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done ( Even childbirth didn’t take this long).  Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat.

Takin’ Care of Business

Segovia, Spain…a day in the life.

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Spain-1050288dmvcrWash day break to catch up on the news.

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Spain-1040993dmvpopLast drag on the cig before 10th grade math class…

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Spain-1050279dmvEven this little bird has found its own little spot in this world ~ a special perch on the aqueduct.  I guess we all have a special place and purpose and that makes the world go around.

Oh, Segovia…you take my breath away.

Segovia, Spain, which was destroyed and reconstructed by the Romans in 80 B.C., became one of the first Roman towns in Spain.

The aqueduct transported waters from Fuente Fría river, situated in the nearby mountains, some 17 km (11 mi) from the city in a region known as La Acebeda. It runs another 15 km (9.3 mi) before arriving in the city.

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As the aqueduct lacks a legible inscription (one was apparently located in the structure’s attic, or top portion), the date of construction cannot be definitively determined. The actual date of the Aqueduct’s construction has always been considered a mystery although it was thought to have been during the 1st century AD.

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Today, two niches are still visible, one on each side of the aqueduct. One of them is known to have held the image of Hercules, who according to legend was founder of the city.Spain-1040902rshp

The other niche now contains the images of the Virgen de la Fuencisla (the Patroness of Segovia) and Saint Stephen.

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At the end of the 20th century, a German archaeologist managed to decipher the text on the dedication plaque by studying the anchors that held the now missing bronze letters in place. Using this method, he was able to determine that in actuality it was the Emperor Domitian (AD 81-96) who ordered its construction.

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The aqueduct is built of unmortared, brick-like granite blocks. During the Roman era, each of the three tallest arches displayed a sign in bronze letters, indicating the name of its builder along with the date of construction.
Spain-1040856rsWe walked about a mile or so to find the channel that brought the water into town.
The water was first gathered in a tank known as El Caserón (or Big House), and is then led through a channel to a second tower known as the Casa de Aguas (or Waterhouse). There it  was naturally decanted and sand settled before the water continued its route. Next the water traveled 728 m (796 yd) on a one-percent grade until it is high upon the Postigo, a rocky outcropping on which the old city center, the Segovia Alcázar, was built.         ~All information was sourced from Wikipedia

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I’m not sure if this little block filled with water at the top of the aqueduct  was the base of a former column or there for another purpose.  We see many groups of Spanish students, as well as other countries, touring the monument.

Spain-1040961Requirement to go up the stairs to the VERY top is to pass by this forlorn, senior citizen beggar.

Spain-1040963bwI pay my new beggar friend his modeling fee and take a close up. Sun is glaring and bright so it’s not the best lighting and I over exposed the image.  I should have used my new shawl  to block the bright light so I could have some nice diffused lighting.

Would-a-could-a-should-a…   

All in a day’s work… Gypsy style

A day in the life of a Gypsy:

Pace the area going up to the famous Segovia aqueduct monument and show your saddest eyes.   Approach a tourist who happens to have a kind heart.

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Now, bring out your prettiest shawl and wave it in front of tender-hearted Randy. (Meanwhile, I am gesturing and shaking my head) No! 

Bonita y cuesta 10 euros

Muy bonita! 8 Euros…

No, gracias.

Siete Euros… muy, muy bonita.   Randy agrees to purchase the pretty shawl and takes out a 10 Euro, but she says she has no change.  No problemo, she offers two scarves for 12 Euros.  Randy goes for it and gives her 12 Euros to purchase two shawls. His reasoning:   But she has such sad eyes and needs business.

We get back to the hostal and look in the bag, only to discover she has switched the really fancy scarf for a scarf that is not as flashy.  The old” bait and switch” trick.

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Hey, that’s my fancy shawl she’s trying to sell!   It’s a living, I guess…

Iglesia San Millan

Now that it’s daylight we can start exploring Segovia. Where to go, what to do?
Spain-1040840Wonder what Jane has noticed up in the air so high? Bird, plane, superhero?

Spain-1040876Birds nesting on the top of a building near our hostal.

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The aqueducts are an obvious sightseeing tour, but I think we’ll start with this old church.

Iglesia San Millan is a Roman Catholic parish church built between 1111 and 1124.  Its architecture is Romanesque and Mozarabic.  Patterned closely on the cathedral of Jaca in Aragon, San Millan is noted for its pre-Romanesque mozaric tower and porticoes with abundant Romanesque figurative carvings.  Inside, there are three naves and three apses.  ~Wikipedia

It is located between the bus station and aqueduct outside the old city, just off Avenida de Fernandez Ladreda.  It is open daily 10-2 and 4:30 -7:30.  Free of charge.  The price is right so let’s check it out.

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Cold and damp feeling inside the old structure so we don’t linger and meditate.

What will our next Segovia adventure involve?  My crystal ball shows a Gypsy…

High Speed Train to Segovia ~ All Aboard!

We head to the charming train station in Santiago so that we can proceed on to Segovia.

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Spain-1040787Petite Kathy appears even smaller in comparison to all of our backpacks.

Spain-1040780Killing time until the train leaves.  People watching is my activity while this gent smokes his cigarette.

Spain-1040799Almost time to hop on the train.

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Spain-1040805BYOB party?

Spain-1040836We see many wind farms along the way.

Spain-1040819What to do while riding on a train? Look out the window? nibble on snacks? sleep? I choose to take photos of our reflection in the window. To each their own, right?

The Segovia train station is a few miles from the city, so we need to take a cab or bus.  I had read about the city bus line that shuttles to town for 1 Euro.  A cab pulls up and is quickly filled.  Our new friend from the train is so helpful with our questions as the bus pulls up to load. We opt for the bus and enjoy the night views of the city.

129081858.ksrRHIey.SegoviaAqueductnight[1]Oh, what a spectacular sight as we enter Segovia with the lighted aqueduct in the distance.

We search for our hostal, Don Jaime, only to find it near the bus drop off spot. Oh, well, the walk did us good since we had been sitting on a train for the past few hours.