Day 626 of Traveling the World, Segovia/Real Sitio de San Ildefonso, Spain. October 30, 2019.

Day trip!….to Segovia, which made our heads spin. Located a little more than an hour north of Madrid, you drive into the city center and encounter the gigantic structure in the first photo. This famous Roman aqueduct, built around 50 AD with no mortar and having more than 170 arches, is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site. The two-tiered aqueduct slices through the middle of the city. It is huge, and imposing, and we were amazed that the locals casually read papers or looked at their phones as they passed under the arches. We stared and stared and couldn’t get enough of this giant local “character.” It’s just amazing and beautiful and… in the world have its relatively slender columns lasted for almost 2,000 years, without breaking or losing some stones??? And…how is it possible that it still delivers drinking water to the city?! It has been called the most impressive Roman structure in Spain. We included four shots, as we were just mesmerized.

Following the aqueduct is a photo of another giant of the city, its cathedral. Considered a masterpiece of Basque-Castilian Gothic architecture, it was consecrated in 1768 and is known as The Lady of Cathedrals. Following that photo is one of Segovia’s Plaza Mayor and a cute small arched passageway.

The next church you see is Iglesias de San Martin, built in the 12th century. We liked the sandy color, the spire, and the arched colonnade. Following that are street scenes of Segovia, some beautifully decorated retail shops, a gorgeous ice cream cone (not!), another old church, and a poor suckling pig that looks like she is trying to boogie-board her way out of the frying pan.

Next we drove a short distance outside of Segovia to the town of Real Sitio de San Ildefonso, where Spain’s much smaller version of Versailles is located, but it is still mighty impressive! Called Palacio Real de la Granja de San Ildefonso, the Royal Farm Palace of San Ildefonso, it was built between 1721-24 by King Philip V, whose grandfather, Louis XIV, built Versailles. You can see the palace, the gardens, and a fabulous tiered fountain that isn’t currently running, as it is being restored. We saw several female “sphinxes” both here and in Segovia. These are the Greek version of a sphinx, the more famous Egyptian version being male. Both are considered ferocious.

It has taken until now to see autumn leaves! In the south of Spain, all the trees were stubbornly green, but here in the middle of the country, the leaves were in full color, finally! And it is October 30! The last photo was taken just in time, before the sun went into hiding for the day!