A Fortuitous Excursion: Expecting the Unexpected in Segovia

A Fortuitous Excursion: Expecting the Unexpected in Segovia

Last Saturday, I participated in our Spanish Language Camp excursion to the majestic city of Segovia, about a two-hour bus ride from Salamanca. The Alcázar of Segovia (Segovia’s Castle) was one of the expected destinations, a massive fortification built in the shape of a ship. Since it was first constructed in the early 1100s, the Alcázar has not only been a fortress for the Spanish royalty, but also a palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College, and a military academy. It is also one of the inspirations for the Cinderella Castle in Disney World!

It was in the Alcázar of Segovia that Queen Isabella promised Christopher Columbus the financial resources he needed to fund his mission that lead to the discovery of America. In the 14th century, Segovia was the setting of fighting between different groups of nobility, and it was the Alcázar that provided the protection needed for Isabella to gain control of Castile. Isabella found refuge in Alcázar when King Henry IV’s death in Madrid reached Segovia. The following day, Isabella held a processional to the main square of Segovia to be crowned as the Queen of Castile. With her marriage to King Ferdinand of Aragon, Isabella and Ferdinand had equal authority in both dominions, which unified Spain.

The Alcázar was continuously referenced throughout the history of Spain, including the fire in 1862 that destroyed the roofs of the castle and the massive restoration that was done to restore it to an even more majestic edifice. Just as one would expect, the interior of the Alcázar is just as magical and magnificent as the exterior. Inside, there are rooms filled with beautifully ornately painted ceilings, armory, art, as well as countless coats of armors in a room exhibiting the nobility’s thrones throughout its expansive history of Spain.

Before heading to the Alcázar, we spent the morning touring through the town, including walking up stairs to reach the top of the famous Roman aqueduct, which transports water from Fuenta Fría in the nearby mountains. It totals 167 arches. As we entered the town by walking through the aqueduct’s colossal arches, we could hear drums and music in the distance. Directly in the town square, throngs of people were lining the streets to watch a parade. As I have learned throughout my travels, you must be prepared to expect the unexpected, and always be sure to carry extra batteries for my camera at all times. Men in both traditional and modern military uniforms marched the parade route, escorted by horses and the music of drummers, flutes and other instruments. According to an article on lavanguardia.com, the parade involved a total of 650 members on foot, horseback, and motorcycles. Colonel Alvarez de Toledo commented on the procession, stating, “the motto of the Royal Guard is ‘Serving the Crown’ and the service of the Crown is the history of Segovia.”



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