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Near Hostel Don Jaime I bumped into two teachers who told me that this evening there will be a special surprise in the plaza by the aqueduct and to be there at 530.

At Café Colonial A lady and some of her family came in and sat next to me.  I was talking to maria on FB who said the surprise is at 430.  I decided to ask the lady sitting beside me but she said that she is from Valladolid (2 hrs to the north). When I said from the US she said “I speak English, well I am not sure how well but…” so she explained that her husband is from the UK and that he doesn’t speak Spanish. Her English was really good and it was nice talking with her in English and Spanish about how even as a native Spanish speaker she lost a job in the south of Spain (Andalucia) during a phone interview because she had to keep asking the interviewer to repeat questions because their accent is so hard to understand. Segovians and in general people from the province of Castilla y Leon have the most clear pronunciation.

It is a shame that most people I meet here are eager to try to impress you with their second or third language but back home people could care less about even speaking their one language well.

I headed towards our apartment but took a detour past the Academia de Artilleria, which is a military Facility. It has a unique façade that I wanted to photograph. With my shot almost lined up I walked up about 5 stairs to get a better angle and just before I push the button to take the picture an MP yelled at me “no photos” then wanted to take my camera to make sure that I hadn’t already taken any, I convinced him that I didn’t take any and he let me go. I walked around to the back of the building to see several more MPs and some other soldiers dressed in formal uniforms.

I wanted to take pictures of their uniforms to show some of my JROTC students back home but felt like maybe that was prohibited. I was about to walk towards the apartment when I hear boots beating the cobble stone and a huge group of soldiers march out of the academy to the beat of a snare drum. AHHHHHH!!! The surprise is going to start and I am not in the plaza!

I started taking video and pictures. After they all pass I run as fast as I can to the bottom of the hill (there about 10 sets of 4 stairs; I clear each set in on leap at full speed. As I am mid air at about set number 5 I had the thought that I might fall, at set 7 I took a weird step [have you ever ran down hill fast and had that second of hang time that caused your rhythm to get just a little off?]. I made it to the bottom of the hill. And film them as they pass again from my new position. And I once more ran to arrive at my final waiting point. The military people have to march to the cathedral to pick up the image of the patron saint of Segovia then they accompany it back down hill into the plaza by the aqueduct.

I found the perfect place to get some great front row photos but the little old ladies are brutal, stepping on my feet and poking me with their elbows. Finally a giant cross coming down Calle de Cervantes (Calle Real most people call it). The image of the patron saint is pretty impressive in her blue and white dress adorned with gold.After they procession passed I couldn’t really go anywhere because the old ladies rushed the police line trying to break through; it took 5 to hold them back.

Note to old people: at events like this if you are  have seen this type of thing year after year for the past 70 years LET THE YOUNGSTERS HAVE A CHANCE!!! I saw old ladies not even letting 6 and 7 year olds in front for a peek.