Segovia, Salamanca & Toledo

February 13, 2010

Last Friday and Saturday, I went to Segovia and Salamanca. Segovia was gorgeous! The aqueducts were amazing, as was the cathedral and castle. I took a photo of nearly every street we walked by/through because it was all so old but beautiful. Mostly of the architecture was Arabic style with arches and decorative details. Ferdinand and Isabella, or the Catholic Rulers as they’re often called, spent a lot of time in the castle and Segovia, so it was really cool to have visited where they lived. We climbed all the way up the stairs to the top of the castle to see all of Segovia and the landscape around it. It was a mountainous area, and it was a pretty incredible view because there’s nothing around the area, just that isolated city, the roads to get there, and the mountains only a short distance away.

Luckily, we left Segovia and went to Salamanca at night because there is no night life in Segovia. In Salamanca, however, there’s the university, so there were tons of people my age. It was fun to talk to my peers about the area and Spain and for me to try to explain life in the U.S. A lot of times in Madrid, there are middle aged people at the bars, even on the weekends. And it’s like, “Oh, I wasn’t planning on partying with people my parents age…”

But we were all very tired the next day when touring through Salamanca, and overall, it was a lot less impressive than Segovia. But all of the Plateresque style details at the churches and the university were interesting.

I started classes this week, and I like everything. I’m taking an art history class, where we’ll go to the Prado every week to see what we learned about in class during the previous class. Also, I have a class about the EU and a 6 credit seminar about the history and culture of Spain. All of the professors are really great.

Yesterday, we took a day trip to Toledo. That was also an incredible city because it was packed with buildings everywhere, leaving only small paths to travel through. It was tough because the city is all hills, but I’m glad we walked around and saw the streets. We went to a lot of churches to see the all the art, and we went to this huge gothic style church, which you were strictly not allowed to take photos in. A guy in my group literally had to wait outside because he kept violating that rule. We also visited this incredible synagogue, which was designed in a very Muslim style but was later converted into a church after Spain became a Catholic country, so the fusion of the cultures was amazing. Toledo had a lot of paintings by El Greco, including his masterpiece, “The Burial of the Count of Orgaz,” which I could have sat and looked at all day. Right before we left the city to go back to Madrid, we stopped at this hotel which overlooked the entire city. It was beautiful! We were all sitting on this balcony overlooking the city just talking and laughing; it was a good half hour.

This is an alter in one of the churches in Salamanca. I have the rest of the photos from my trip to Segovia and Salamanca on fbook

This one's from Linda, it's jewelry that was displayed in the synagogue I described

I did not take this photo, I just wanted to include it to show what I was talking about. It's 'The Burial of the Count of Orgaz' by Greco

View of Toledo

Another view of Toledo

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