CharityPrado's Travel Journals

CharityPrado

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  • 23 years old
  • From California, United States
  • Currently in Madrid, Spain

Endless Summer in Madrid

Learning more and more every day in the city of Madrid.

Oh, Little Town of Segovia

Spain Madrid, Spain  |  Jul 23, 2011
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La Catedral Castle of Alcázar Roman Aqueducts

Oh dear, this is what I get for not writing about sights in a long while, a slightly faded memory and a blog full of pictures.

Let me start with Segovia. Usually people go to see Segovia and its next door neighbor, the Valley of the Fallen, but unfortunately, we were unable to do so. This was because the Valley is a monument meant to commemorate the people who died in the Spanish Civil war, and the body of Franco is buried within the basilica. Because everyone detests the era of Franco’s regime, the money that the government recently granted to the monument is being disputed. They are deciding if it should be used to continue to preserve the monument or to tear it down.

Personally, I think that it is silly that they want to tear it down. It is a piece of history, regardless if that history isn’t a pleasant one. People live; people die. But history lives on. History should be preserved because it teaches us wisdom and gives us much needed insight. What will people do when their memories fade, and their hair turns grey, and their children and their great-grandchildren have nothing with which to fathom a personal understanding of the suppression and dictatorship of that time, to instead blindly read the textbooks but have no real bearing on the pain of that time, to never have seen the concentration camps, the bloody prisons, or feel the rush of fear running coldly through their body when a soldier walks by?

I’ll tell you. They can take their youthful grandchildren to the Valley of the Fallen and with a defiant finger point at the grave of Franco, saying, “There. There lies of the body of Franco. There lies the body of a murder, resting peacefully in a basilica. Remember this. Hold it deep in your heart, and never let this happen again.” Then all they can do is pray that it never does and that the lesson need not be learned twice.

That was a rather long explanation for a sight for which I was irritated that I never saw. Now, on to my destination, Segovia.

Segovia was a beautiful little Spanish town. I really enjoyed Segovia, although it was small, it had a quaint little charm about it.

We went during the weekend of Corpus Cristi, a Catholic holiday, and at the time, they were still having festivities for this and for the saints, San Pedro and San Juan. When we arrived, I was excited to see that parades were going on with a band and people wearing giant-headed costumes were marching down the street. It was clear that we came on the right day.

I got very excited and ran up to all the action to take pictures.

All I can say is that I guess I wasn’t supposed to? Because…..

this was the last thing I saw before this figure from the parade pummeled me with a broom. His amigo, also in the parade, also felt the need to chime in and whack me with a broom too.

Now, I do not know if this religious holiday despises certain colors that are associated with evil things or if it was some kind of tradition to hit tourists with brooms. All I know is that I jumped up in surprise, yelled at the costume wearers, and ran in the opposite direction while others laughed in amusement.

To this day, I do not understand. Oh, well. C’est la vi.

Anyways, I met back up with Stephanie and Nico and we followed the street to another crowded parade event with many people walking towards the famous church, La Cátedral. Once we arrived, the people waited as the uniformed men respectfully lined up at the entrance.

As people chanted hymns, we entered the cathedral.

It was beautiful, although not to the level of El Escorial. It was small but had high ceilings and was decorated beautifully with gold and statues. To see this place come alive made it even a more significant experience for me and to see the whole community come out to this religious event, hear them recite the hymns and the ceremonial words in front of the alter, all while dressed formally for this important occasion.

Apparently, it was first communion, although it may have been in addition to other celebrations. It was nice to see all the young children, adorned in their nice clothes, posing for pictures with the priest, smiling warmly on their big day.

In most cathedrals there are capillaries depicting religious artwork.

I really like depictions of Mary similar to the one below .This picture doesn’t accurately reflect what I have seen, but everywhere I go I always see art depicting Mary in a certain way, a way that I find so powerful and great., the Mary of the Apocalypse.

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered: that, when she should be delivered, he might devour her son. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman who brought forth the man child. And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle…” (Rev)

She shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for Her heel (Gen 3:15b).

The artists of all of these used a common interpretation that the lady described in Revelations is Mary, although there are many who believe that the lady described in the verses is not her, but rather a symbol for something else.

Regardless, I think that the poetry of it is beautiful- Mary, adorned with stars above her head, standing on the moon, crushing the serpent at her feet, fulfilling the prophecy in Genesis. There is so much power in that depiction, so much strength. She is the mother of the son of God, having one final victory over Satan, conquering all in but a moment in time.

Every time I see images such as these, it gives me the whole “I can conquer all” attitude. After successfully viewing the cathedral, we walked through the city to the Castle of Alcázar. This medieval castle has the shape and structure similar to the Disney castles.

I decided that I didn’t need to pay to see the museum inside, and instead I opted to just walk up the tower and see the view.

So I walked all 152 steps to the top. It really wasn’t that bad.

When we reached the top, it had a great view of Segovia.

What makes it an ever greater image in my head is that a week later, my roommate Daniel proposed to his long-time girlfriend, right where we were standing. I think that would have been adorable to see.

I loved walking through this town. Apparently they are known for having excellent roast pig, and everywhere we went there were souvenir shops with images of pigs all over them. I would have bought a pig to eat if it weren’t like 30 euros. However, I really liked the old feeling of the city, it seemed like a city that hadn’t changed very much and was much less modern looking.

The next sight we saw was the Roman Aqueducts. Segovia used to be a Roman military base that of course required water, resulting in aqueducts here. So the answer is no, you don’t have to go to Rome to see a Roman aqueduct. What’s amazing is that the aqueducts are over 2,000 years old! The aqueducts stretch all over town, but there is a long exposed section that is quite amazing to see. It’s even more interesting to note that this aqueduct was still being used until the 19th century. You have to give it to the Romans. They built quality architecture, meant to last the ages. So here are pictures of me next to the aqueduct that was made from 20,000 granite blocks.

It was rad. =] This was our last stop before heading back to catch the bus where we all passed out from a long day.

Fin.

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