Mom, Wayne and I went to Euroski and picked up some things then hung out at the apartment for a while and had lunch. Later at their place we watched some crazy soccer match that was a benefit game but I couldn’t figure out what the benefit was for. There was some guy with long hair but a huge bald spot who was playing and wearing a microphone so you could hear him on the field. We wandered around looking for somewhere to get diner but everywhere that was open was by reservation only so we just had tapas… lots of them.
Then wandered around killing time; some people told us that at midnight people go to the plaza mayor and wait for the bug clock to strike 12 (the tradition in Spain is watch some metal ball drop and wait for the bells to ring in the plaza mayor in Madrid). There were only about 30-40 people who braved the cold and waited for the bells in Segovia. With our 12 grapes in hand we waited… the bells finally rang about a minute late and then we started eating our 12 grapes… one each time the bell rang, finishing all 12 within the first minute.
We all layered up and headed down to walk along the river; as we were about to descend along a winding concrete path a lady suggested we take the stairs instead, saying the path was iced over. When we got to the bottom of the stairs you could see a layer of frosty ice covering the entire sidewalk. I knew it was cold out but this was the first time that I have seen ice in Segovia; a Gutter along the side of the road which usually has a stream of water flowing down at all times was frozen solid.
I had had walked up stream before so we decided to see what was down stream. I found out there are several huge gardens and then we stumbled upon the “Casa de Monedas”, the place where money was made back in the day. Wayne got sick so he spent most of the rest of the trip in the hostel.
Mom and I took the bus to go see the Palace at San Ildifonso de la Granja. With my teacher card that I was given last month I can now get in for free! Mom loved all the antiques that furnish the palace. Since we weren’t dressed for such cold weather we skipped walking around the gardens, which are glum at this time of year anyway.
We checked out the Alcazar which I hadn’t been into. There is an exhibit of body armor and weaponry then the best part after a 152 step spiral stair case; the view from the watch tower on top of the Alcazar, the castle here in Segovia. I wonder how many of the people who visit the castle know that the one they are entering is not the original; it’s not a secret, but unless you read every little sign you may miss that a fire destroyed it in 1862 and that it was rebuilt in 1898.
Me and mom went to Play Foosball; We found a table that charges 50 cents and gives you 13 balls…we are both terrible but I am getting a tad better. We also got food and watched Real Madrid play Malaga; after about 50 minutes of Real Madrid getting destroyed (2-0) we left. In the morning I found out Madrid scored a goal in about the 78th minute, then in the 79th minute and one in about the 86th minute, winning the game 3-2.
January 5th Los Reyes Magicos… The Three Wise Men. Spain’s Christmas
Since mom and Wayne didn’t get to ride the High Speed train into Segovia I got us tickets for the morning train. Apart from some crazy pressure changes when leaving the tunnel that goes through the mountain it is a cushy 25 minute ride into Madrid (Vs 1 hour and 15 minutes by bus). I keep hearing the argument that no one will use it if we had it back home but just like Spain we have to install our first branches and build steadily; Spain didn’t just pull the curtain off of a national high speed rail network. They open their first line in 1992, built major connections and have built off of those over the years. Support transportation networks will then have a base of users and a central hub from which they can operate… you’re not giving up your keys you’re getting a chauffeur.