Sunday, May 19, 2013

Saturday in Segovia!

Yesterday our group took a day-trip by bus to Segovia, Spain. I was super excited to spend the day with our group and get to be a little bit touristy again and get away from the books. The weather was not ideal for an outdoor tour, but we made it work. I was wearing a t-shirt with a cardigan over it, a zip-up sweatshirt, my jacket, and a scarf and I was still chilly! I'm so glad I brought that jacket because I was not going to. I have worn it almost every day so far! We left the school at 10 and got to Segovia at around 11:30 I think. We went into the tourist center to get maps. One weird thing about the tourist center is that you had to pay to use the bathroom. It was 20 cents and there was a guy standing in front of the entrance to the bathroom and one of those spinners to let you through. Needless to say, I held it and just went later on the trip. There was a really long line for the bathroom though! I don't know why people would be willing to pay when you could just walk around a little bit and find a place where it's free. We then went to some cafés to get coffee/breakfast and wake up a little bit. I've always heard about how great the crepes are here, but I have never had one. I decided to get one and it was so absolutely delicious! They are kind of like pancakes, but a little more doughy and sweet. Seriously, check them out!

After the café we proceeded on to our next stop--the cathedral. Cathedrals are a  big thing in Spain, and this one was the biggest Cathedral I have ever been inside! Rico said the purpose of the big size is to make people feel small in the face of God and realize that they are just one little part of our big world. Another interesting thing about the cathedral is that there are people buried underneath the floor! Shanna enlightened me about that, and said that that is where the saying "stinking rich" or "filthy rich" comes from. People who are buried under cathedral floors obviously were rich and had to pay a LOT of money. Every time they buried another person they had to open up the floor again and the smell was just wretched. So that's where "filthy, stinking rich" comes from :) There was also a wedding going on in the cathedral while we were there so we got to see a little bit of it. It would have been cool to see more of the ceremony and what their traditions are here.

Here is just one of the many grave markers in the cathedral.

The huge cathedral! It is a gothic style cathedral and is very very old.

After the cathedral, we all wanted to use the bathroom and the guard at the cathedral said there was one right outside if you go down a staircase. We found the staircase and went down there, and it was seriously the most disgusting thing ever!! It smelled wretched and there were just two toilets. There was no toilet paper by either of the toilets and the floor was wet and nasty and the toilet seats were super gross. There was a sink, but no soap or paper towels either. I still shudder just thinking about it. It really makes you appreciate having nice public bathrooms in America. We then proceeded on to the castle. I was really excited for that part because I have never been inside a castle before. It was so cool! There were a bunch of knight suits inside and it was set up with a bedroom and throne room and dining room and a lot of cool, ancient things. The people back then must have been very small because some of the knight suits were so little! We took tons of pictures in there and had a lot of fun exploring throughout the castle. It was huge and had so much neat stuff inside to look at. There was a little museum inside and a gift shop as well. 

We all met up again at the end and headed up to the tower together. I was super excited to be up high and be able to look over the whole city and all the scenery. When we got to the entrance, there was a sign saying that there are 152 steps up to the top. 152. It was insane. It was this tiny little spiral staircase that just kept going up and up and up and up! The steps were narrow and we could only go up single file, but they were tall steps and short Emily and I were pretty much crawling up the staircase. It was super claustrophobic but once we finally made it to the top it was SO worth it. The view was absolutely breathtaking. The wind was like a hurricane though. We took a bunch of fun pictures up there. When we left and got outside, it started to rain. Actually no, it started to pour. The rain was coming down so hard and so we ran into a building near the castle. It had a little cafeteria area inside, but we couldn't eat there because our families had packed us lunched and you're not allowed to eat outside food in restaurants in Spain. So we ran across the park and went back to the castle and ate in a side room in the castle. Which wasn't really legal either, but the guard didn't find us until we were done eating. Hahaha.  It was still pouring outside, but it wasn't going to get any better so we started our walk around Segovia. It was our free time and we wanted to do a little shopping so we walked around with our umbrellas and explored. I've never actually used an umbrella with good purpose, but it was so nice to have it! I stayed mostly dry. We walked around for about 2 hours and then returned to the town center and the bus. In the town center they had a beautiful carousel with the most interesting animals/things to ride on! It had a squid, a pterodactyl skeleton, a rocket ship, a grasshopper, a helicopter, a hot air balloon, and more! It was so cute and the little kids were so excited to ride on it.

We left Segovia at 5:30 and got back to Avila at about 7. It was a really fun day and I took a million pictures. I uploaded many more pictures into my Facebook album, so check those out if you'd like to see more! I was super tired by the time we walked home. I am excited for our other weekend excursions as well. It's fun to spend time with our group and get to know the people better and experience Spain with them. Except we hardly ever use our Spanish when we're all together. Haha WHOOPS.

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