The online Plaza Mayor for those who love Spain, and those who blog about it.

Savoring Salamanca

June 25, 2013 by Luann Edwards

(This post was originally shared on www.luannedwardswrites.com)

Our second tour was about an hour away from Segovia, in the city of Salamanca. We rose early that morning and boarded a bus that took us through the highways of Spain, out of Segovia and by Avila. Traveling within Spain’s interior is a beautiful experience, since the highways are not quite like those that we’re used to. There are usually no overpasses, not too much honking, and a lot of countryside to gaze upon as you pass through. Sprinkled between interesting conversations with my traveling partners were glimpses of fields of sunflowers, which I still regret not photographing in time, since the blanketed hills caught me by surprise. Later we would pass the lines of windmills that Spain is known for, and I’m reminded of Don Quijote and his

Friends in Plaza Mayor, Salamanca

experiences on the roads that we were traveling. We may have been riding a bus (and not our trusty horse, Rocinante) and the windmills were a bit more modern, but it was an adventure nonetheless.

We arrived in Salamanca, which had a different flavor from the other Spanish cities I’dvisited. This one seemed, somehow, more like a city. At first glance, I wasn’t sure I liked it – it ran contrary to what I’d expected it to be. But once we’d move into the city and began at the Plaza Mayor, I felt Salamanca begin to slowly grow on me.

We started our tour at the University of Salamanca, exploring the building and its evident history in every beam and detail. My favorite story is that of Frey Luis de Leon, a professor at the University who had been teaching one day, and then thrown into prison the next by the

Frey Luis and Salamanca

heavy hand of the Spanish Inquisition. It took five years for his defense to acquit him of his supposed crimes, after which he returned to the classroom with the following quote, “Como decíamos ayer.” Translated, it reads, “As we were saying yesterday.” I’m not sure why, but this quote really stuck with me and continues to – a clear statement of moving forward and not letting the past hold back the future. I find it encouraging, even still today.

One other item really stood out to me – the wall markings of the PhD students who fought a bull in order to earn their degree and then used the blood to write a quote and a symbol (the word “Victor” in some permutation) on the wall. These days, they use a more humane paint to inscribe this on the wall – but still a great tradition. A good friend and fellow travel writer was, at that time, awaiting defense of her dissertation and we thought that this would be a great tattoo when she became Doctor, which she would a month later.

Victor – in paint

We took a meandering walk in the hot sun – every, every day was hot in Castilla y Leon – looking at shop windows and churches and even purchasing cookies made by the nuns in a local convent. Lunch was spent at an outdoor restaurant just outside the Plaza Mayor, which provided a flavorful menu del día and people-watching opportunities.

After a long, hot day of walking and absorbing and maybe even baking a little, we boarded the bus on a quiet street just at the edge of the city and drove back to Segovia, waving out the window at Avila and stopping for a moment to take a photo at the base of the hill below the magical castle outside the gates of Segovia. The driver dropped us off at the i.e. University, which seemed incredibly modern compared to the University of Salamanca, and we made the uphill trek through the city gates and to Los Linajes.

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Wisdom from the Camino

May 5, 2013 by Luann Edwards


In the last blog post, we looked at the Camino de Santiago from the perspective of modern-day pilgrims in anticipation of the journey. Today, we turn our attention to the wisdom shared by those pilgrims – peregrinos – who have completed the pilgrimage.  There is a wealth of beautiful writing by those who have been transformed by the journey.

In her blog, girlsontheway.com, Patricia Herr shares “The Ten Truths of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.” My favorite truth is the first, “You are stronger than you think you are.” Here’s what she says:

“There will be days when your feet feel like someone went at them with a hammer. There will be times when the rain pelts you for hours on end. There will be moments when your back aches and your shoulders hurt and your neck wants to fall off. During each and every one of those times, you’ll go deep within yourself and you’ll find the strength to keep going. Every time you tough it out makes the next difficult time that much easier.” 

My second favorite – although perhaps it is a tie with the first – is the final truth, number 10, “Ultreia.”

“This is a peregrina’s mantra; it means Onward. Forward. Ahead. You can’t go back. “Ultreia” applies to every aspect of my life. Whatever has happened in the past, it doesn’t matter. I can only take action in the here-and-now and I can only look ahead to the future. Keep moving. Keep growing as a person. Keep trimming the unwanted fat (in terms of both diet and negative people) from my life. Keep doing the best I can, keep learning, keep celebrating the moment and keep cherishing my loved ones. Keep hiking, keep planning for the future, keep true to myself and my family.”

If each of us came out of an experience with just these two lessons, the world would be a better place.

Each blog post is filled with uplifting anecdotes of experiences on the road. On richardtullochwriter.com, Tulloch described a “miracle” during his camino:

“Miracles happen along the Camino. Somewhere between 13.7 and 15.1 kilometres into the trek my GPS computer broke free of its moorings on my wrist and was lost. I retraced my steps and searched the ground fruitlessly, until a Spanish angel appeared on a mountain bike and produced it from his backpack.”

An in aviatrixkim.com, Kim Green’s blog, she shares wisdom from her day of departure:

“1. You can never get everything done.

2. When you don’t get it all done, the world doesn’t end.

3. Worrying doesn’t help.”


And for all those who wish to find The Way, are about to set out on The Way, or have already found their version of The Way, iblogspain.com wishes you buen camino!



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The Camino

May 4, 2013 by Luann Edwards

A rite of passage, the Camino de Santiago leads modern-day pilgrims along a path from France into northern Spain. I find this fascinating, that millions of people a year would venture, on foot, to the city where St. James is reputed to be buried. Some of them walk the trail  because they’ve found religion, and others because they’ve lost their way. More, still, walk the Camino because they need to redefine their lives and this feat of mental and physical endurance is said to do that.


Some day, I would like to walk the Camino. While I haven’t set a date – or accumulated enough vacation time from work – I have begun to research this journey through a handy Google blog search. I’d like to share a few pieces with you.


Blogger Paul Agostinelli writes on the Zephyr Travel blog: “Whatever your spiritual orientation, the Camino invites you to become present with your life on earth, and in the universe.”


Camino de Santiago (Photo from Zephyr Adventures.com)

Camino de Santiago (Photo from Zephyr Adventures.com)


The Camino means many things to many people. Agostinelli also writes, “One of the best things about the self-guided walking tour of Camino de Santiago is that while the route is well-mapped, the “journey” is full of surprises, and your experience will be completely unique to you. Our pilgrimage was full of wonderful, unplanned moments: the sun glistening magically off a babbling creek; a herd of cows being led by an ancient peasant farmer blocking our path; the young South Korean girl traveling the Camino alone who teared up telling us about her travels; Rosa from Puerto Rico by way of New York, who bought us several rounds at the hotel in Palas de Rei; the amazing polpo (octopus) on the playa in Melide….. and so many more. I had an amazing time on the Camino and will definitely remember it for the rest of my life.”


Photo from www.fourjandals.com

Photo from www.fourjandals.com


Walking the Camino is also official business, and certain credentials are required if you’d like to be an official pilgrim. On his blog, travelsofanewchristian.com, L. Reese Cumming writes, “First, one must obtain a Credential at the beginning of the trip.  This may be obtained at one’s own church, and at a church or tourist office along the route chosen.  As one travels they have this ‘passport’ stamped by where they might sleep at night, the local church, a tourist office or town hall.  It is most important to obtain these stamps as they are reviewed by the Pilgrim’s Office; upon arrival in Santiago de Compostela.  And this leads us to the second document required to be an official pilgrim.”


Credentials. (Photo from www.travelsofanewchristian.com)

Credentials. (Photo from www.travelsofanewchristian.com)


By far, Cole at fourjandals.com shared the most beautiful photos of the blogs I’ve searched. He also shared a quote that resonated with me, “While there were only about 20 pilgrims walking each section every day, it wasn’t uncommon for you to encounter them all. The people I met along the Camino de Santiago were some of the most inspiring and remarkable people I have ever spoken to. They are the ones that make the pilrgimage so special.”  Cole, thank you for sharing your pictures and your story!


Photo from www.fourjandals.com

Photo from www.fourjandals.com




Posted in Cities in Spain, Culture, Curation |

Beautiful Churches, Vibrant Spaniards

May 3, 2013 by Luann Edwards

She stays up late at night, smoking at an outdoor tapas bar, drinking a crisp white Rioja and talking about the government. She is what makes Spain vibrant – the typical Madrileña. She has counterparts everywhere – people who enjoy life by the moment; who are not usually in a hurry and so they do not miss anything. It’s the people that I love about Spain.

A Spaniard in Spain - The Lovely Elena

A Spaniard in Spain – The Lovely Elena


For the record, the photo above is my friend Elena. I don’t think she smokes, but she embodies all of the wonderful qualities of a vibrant Spaniard.


In the last blog post, we talked about Catholic Spain. As a lapsed Catholic, I find its ubiquity in the Iberian peninsula familiar and comforting – in the same way that malls in other cities are comforting to me in the US. (For the record, I may have felt differently if I was a resident of Spain instead of an occasional interloper.) What I especially loved was the combination of the people in Spain, and how they celebrated that religion. How they built their churches – and, in the case of the Sagrada Familia, that they still are.


I’d intended to dedicate this post to the religious ferias – or festivals – across Spain during this time of year. My only experience was to spend four rushed days in Barcelona just before Christmas. It wasn’t officially a festival, but I enjoyed unseasonably warm weather as I walked just outside of La Rambla, shopping for interesting Christmas ornaments. I couldn’t get enough of the atmosphere – of the people enjoying the festive decorations and the upbeat feeling that many have during the season. Sadly, work brought me to Spain the most often, and we typically avoided travel during the very holidays I would have liked to experience.

Street Performer on La Rambla

Street Performer on La Rambla


Without my own experience to draw from, I had hoped to find plenty of blog posts that I could share but there are not as many as I’d thought. Instead, perhaps you might enjoy some photos of the beautiful churches I’ve encountered in my travels throughout Spain.


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“As We Were Saying Yesterday” … About Spain and Its Religion

May 1, 2013 by Luann Edwards
Fray Luis de Leon

Fray Luis de Leon



If there is one thing that you could say about Spain, it’s that this country has got religion. Today, while there is no government sanctioned religion, its Catholic roots are strong and 71% of Spaniards self-identify as Catholics. Its history involves both remarkable religious tolerance followed by equally remarkable religious intolerance. Many landmarks in Spain are large, imposing cathedrals as well as synagogues and mosques – relics from a time when several religious groups lived together until they didn’t. But I’ll save the history conversation for another blog.


I was attracted to the story of la covivencia, Spain’s once-harmonious co-existence of Muslims, Christians and Jews, during my first visit to Toledo in 2003. At the time, I was a newlywed in an interfaith marriage – my husband is Jewish, and I was raised Catholic – and its history of tolerance resonated with me. While visiting Toledo, I fell in love with its sand-colored structures and the Tagus river that flowed around it. And what I really loved most was the beautiful cathedral. And since that first honeymoon visit, anytime I’ve visited the Iberian peninsula, Spain’s religious roots could be seen, woven into the landscape.


During a visit to Salamanca in 2011, we visited the cathedral there – its two sections reflecting the “old” and the “new” sides of its architecture. As well as being home to this beautiful religious edifice, Salamanca boasts one of the oldest universities around – the University of Salamanca. The photo above is of Fray Luis de Leon, who was a famous instructor at the university and stands as an example of Spain’s tumultuous religious history.


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Fray Luis is a prominent figure as an example of the intersection of government and religion. He was arrested during the Spanish Inquision, and held for four years for having what was considered heretical views. After that time, he was cleared and released from prison. He returned to the classroom and began his first lecture with, “As we were saying yesterday…” as if only a day went by since he had last lectured. When our tour guide told us this story, it seemed that she was the most proud of that anecdote.


Interior of the cathedral at Salamanca

Interior of the cathedral at Salamanca




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Five Delicious Things About Spain

April 23, 2013 by Luann Edwards

A true Iberophile knows that Spain has some of the best cuisine in the world. Travelers to the Iberian peninsula can land in any city, inland or coast, and enjoy something that is truly delicious and completely unique. We have the country’s rich history and culture to thank for it – and every bite tells a story. Learning a country through its food is the most basic way to travel.

Our theme this week is food; in particular, tapas. Tapas are the food version of social media. Its history is murky, but there is one common idea in the story: people would sit with tapas and beverages and eat them together. When eating in any Spanish city, I have noticed that I am never served a glass of wine without a small sandwich or other bite to accompany it. That may prove the theory as travel blogger Emma Higgins says in her blog about Spanish tapas, “…Bars serv[ed] every drink ordered by a sailor or solider with a small plate of food on top to ensure they kept eating and wouldn’t get so drunk.”


Tapas are typically known by the common selections: tortilla, gambas al ajillo, jamón Iberico, croquetas, and patatas bravas. My favorite is the tortilla Española, a deliciously simple combination of potatoes, a whole onion, a dose of olive oil and eggs. A cool glass of wine and some fresh crusty bread and I am one happy lady. Below are what I’ve judged to be the top five most important tapas:


1. Tortilla

I start with my favorite, the tortilla Española. This deliciously simple combination of potatoes, yellow onion, a dose of olive oil and eggs can be found in almost every Spanish tapas bar and restaurant. It works for breakfast, lunch, and that middle hour between the siesta and dinner that tapas tradition owns. You can have it in a plate, or on a bun – a bocadillo.  A wedge of tortilla, a cool glass of wine and some fresh crusty bread makes me one happy lady. As Ms. Higgins said, “For some reason I’ve found that there really is nothing like a tortilla made by a Spaniard.”  I couldn’t agree more!


2. Gambas al ajillo

Shrimp, or prawns, served in a clay pot swimming in a spicy olive oil.  This dish is associated with a memory so poignant that I yearn to return to that moment: A warm evening in Segovia, sitting outside the Plaza Mayor. I remember a Tweet I shared about it, “Dinner on the square: gambas al ajillo, crusty roll, cool glass of Rueda. A woman sits at a piano. #travelbite #segovia.” In case you’d like to make your own, here’s a recipe by a guest blogger at wwww.holayessica.com. As she says, ” Gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns), in particular, are classic Spanish and the perfect example of how easy it really is to cook Spanish cuisine.” I  believe that what makes Spanish cuisine so good is the fresh simplicity of its ingredients. Yes, there’s plenty of  fancy in Spain, but these old favorites endure.


3. Jamón Iberico

I feel a bit sad for all of the pigs that live in Spain, since there fate is already pre-determined. Eventually, some day, they will find themselves hanging out at a Museo del Jamón. At the same time, I wouldn’t change a thing. This cured Spanish ham, a superior cousin of Italian proscuitto, is woven into the fabric of Spanish cuisine. If you enter a traditional Spanish restaurant and there are no ham hocks hanging from the ceiling, turn and walk away. If you are in Spain, seated at a table, about to enjoy some tapas, there had better be a portion of jamón coming out. Just read the description as Jennifer Shanks wrote in her travel blog: “[They are] gorgeous cured ham shanks made from acorn-fed black Iberian pigs – hung from the ceiling.” It’s a must – don’t leave Castille without a taste.

Cheese gets second billing here, but is an important accompaniment as well – a few slices of Manchego will only enhance the experience of the jamón, but that’s just my opinion.


Museo de Jamón, Madrid

Museo del Jamón, Madrid


4. Croquetas

I will spend the least time describing croquetas – croquettes – since they’re the least interesting to me. It is still one of the most famous and important items on the Spanish tapas menu. I’ll let Don Victor’s Homemade Spanish Cuisine blog tell the story, “A Croquette is a small bread crumbed deep-fried oval or cylinder shaped dough containing, usually as main ingredients, mashed potatoes, ground meat (Chicken and/or Serrano Ham), fish (unsalted Cod and/or Prawns), cheese, vegetables (Leek, Mushrooms, Onions) or any combination thereof and mixed with Béchamel.”


Please  do not think, however, that having croquetas with jamón means you’ve fulfilled the requirement listed in number 3.


5. Patatas Bravas

They’re carbs. They’re fried. And then they’re covered in a delicious tomato-ey, spicy, oily sauce and served  you on a platter. What’s not to love about patatas bravas? They so rich that you have to share, but so good that you have to resist fighting your table mates for the last bite. Matthew Hirtes at Spain Holiday had this nugget of wisdom to share: “Whilst the Spanish are keen on spices, they’re not so hot for spicy food. One of the few exceptions to the rule is the nationwide favourite, patatas bravas.” My fondest memory of this dish occurred on the Paseo de Gracia in Barcelona: I’m sitting at an outdoor restaurant on an unseasonably warm December afternoon, enjoying one bite at a time.


My fellow Iberophiles will have enjoyed this tour through the favorite tapas of Spain – and likely have some fond memories to go along with them. If you’re an aspiring Iberophile, go forth and start tasting some memories of your own.


Posted in Curation, Food and Wine |

Melancholia and Boston

April 16, 2013 by Luann Edwards

In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to warn you that I have a serious case of melancholy today.


As an occasional/aspirational runner who lives one hour outside of Boston, I am especially sickened and angry about the bombing at the Boston Marathon. I’m heartbroken for those who died, and for those who have been changed forever. I’m sad about the fact that no one will experience this event again without thinking about what happened today. I hate that my second home city is now linked with sadness and tragedy. A shadow is cast on one of the best things Beantown has to offer, and I want to know who is responsible for it. Lord help them when the people of Boston finds them.


It’s hard not to think about the parallels between  this event, and the 11th March Atocha bombing. It feels eerie to think that I had just mentioned it in last week’s post about taking the train to Còrdoba. Each time I board a train in Atocha – although, to be fair, it wasn’t the Renfre that was bombed – I think of that fateful day. I offer up a little prayer for those who lost their lives doing the routine, unremarkable act of commuting to their office or class at the local university. And while we don’t know who is responsible for Boston yet, it doesn’t make it any more logical or easier to understand.


And today, I mourn for another group of people; those who will be forever changed by a senseless act while experiencing something that should have been uplifting, positive, and and inspirational. When I go out for a run on a crisp spring morning, I’ll say a little prayer for those who only wanted to achieve a dream that many cannot: to run Boston. And for those who came to cheer them on.


And today, I echo the words of our president: “Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people.”



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Once de Marzo, y Córdoba

April 7, 2013 by Luann Edwards

His name was Enrique, and he was carrying a man-purse. I was very happy to see him as he met me outside of the AVE station in Córdoba, since without him I would have been completely lost.

I’d awoken that morning to a beautiful, strong sun peering through the shades in my hotel room at the Westin Palace. The meeting I had organized in Madrid had just wrapped up, and I was free to explore for the day. It would have been easy to stay in Madrid and visit some of my favorite haunts – I could get lost in Plaza del Sol and shop for days. But it seemed like a terrible waste to be in Spain and not explore a bit more of it before I had to leave.

My local contact had sent me some suggestions that we felt I could cover in a day via the AVE train: Segovia, Sevilla, and Córdoba. I had spent some time in Segovia in the front half of my trip, and Sevilla was a place to which I’d wanted to dedicate more than a few hours. So, Córdoba it was.

I was to board the train in Madrid’s Atocha Station, which was a short walk from the hotel. Since I’ve never traveled through that station before, I often think of Atocha in connection to the terrible event on 11 March 2004.  As I walked into the interior of this grand station, I offered up a silent prayer to those who lost their lives. (I do the same whenever I hear La Oreja de Van Gogh’s Jueves, which was also written in tribute to those same souls.)

Traveling for the first time alone by train in a foreign country is a rite of passage. It was disconcerting to try to navigate the large, busy station, with my limited Spanish skills and all of the baggage that comes with being from somewhere else. Added to that was the solemn feeling I had as I recalled the significance of this station, which helped me to feel at once somber and watchful. I felt comforted, though, as I passed through the security x-ray on my way to my train and reminded myself that it was certainly more secure than the Providence to NYC train I often take. While the boarding experience was a bit different for me as an American, I’d already had a printed ticket to expedite the process.


If there is a train that runs between your city of origin and desired destination in Spain, then you must consider taking the AVE instead of flying. (Here’s a great article from the Guardian by someone who feels the same about the train ride on the AVE. And another blogger has written a great review of his trip via the AVE train.) I found my assigned seat on Coach 8, and was handed a pair of free earbuds by an attendant. And then I relaxed into the almost-two hour ride to Córdoba.


The interior of the train was modern and clean, and I had plenty of room to stretch out. The seat next to me was unoccupied, which was probably due to the midday timing of the train. Instead of taking out a book or watching the free movie, I just gazed out the window at the passing scenery. The fast-moving view from the window was mostly hilly, and very green. As opposed to flying, an experience akin to boarding a tube on one end and emerging, almost untouched, on the other – I felt like I had experienced every kilometer of this earthbound journey.

Before long, we arrived into the airy sunlit station at my destination. And while I felt proud that I had made the solo train trip without much help, I was happy to let another person do the driving. Enrique – a professional tour guide – met me as I exited at Córdoba station, and I followed his lead as he showed me his city over the next two and a half hours. As for touring Córdoba: I’ll save that for another time, but as a down payment, below are some photos.



Posted in Cities in Spain, Transportation |


March 31, 2013 by Luann Edwards

My first trip to Madrid was as a newlywed in 2003. We emerged from Madrid Barajas airport, startled by the bright late-May sun, our vision still cloudy from the overnight flight. A driver met us in the arrivals area, and ushered us to a small white hatch-back car. We sped into the city, with Michael Jackson as our soundtrack as we emerged from the underground exit into the capital.


First ones to arrive (at 9 p.m.) at a restaurant in Madrid 2003

First ones to arrive (at 9 p.m.) at a restaurant in Madrid 2003

That first time, Madrid was overwhelming. I stumbled through the check in at the Occidental Miguel Angel (“Tenemos una reservación,” I said. The clerk responded, “Your last name?”) and went straight to bed, shutting out the bright Castillian sun with the heavy velvet curtains. We remained three days, including a day in Toledo – another day trip! – and a planned city tour that our jet lag helped us sleep through. Even still, Madrid remained an unwrapped gift until I returned three years later.


A day trip to Toledo, 2013

A day trip to Toledo, 2013


In 2006, while studying at Suffolk University for a master’s degree, I joined a mixed group of students (grad students and undergrads) for a two-week summer session at its Madrid campus. (Here’s a blog from a student studying at Suffolk Madrid now that I found courtesy of Google blogsearch.)  Even though it was a short time, sharing an apartment and establishing a routine made me feel like I had actually lived there. I always wanted to be a Madrileña, and for fifteen days, I could be. My first lesson: The best way to learn Madrid was through its Metro system – the cleanest underground transportation I had ever encountered.


When we arrived at our apartment, we were armed with the first set of directions: “Walk two blocks to the Cuzco station. Take the blue line to Nuevos Ministerios, and transfer to the orange line. Exit at the Universidad stop. Walk up the hill and the university will be on your right.” None of us were prepared for the masses of people who also needed to transfer at Nuevos Ministerios during the morning commute, and that it would take us nearly thirty minutes for what was seven stops on the Metro. The roommates at Calle de la Viña – our address in Madrid – went together that first time; we needed moral support and only a few of us had a strong working knowledge of the language. Little by little, though, we grew more comfortable with the system, often using it as a guide to explain where something was.


On a walk through Madrid

On a walk through Madrid

hp photosmart 720


Want to go shopping at El Corte Ingles? Get off at Sol. If you walked a little bit, you could even find a Ben and Jerry’s near the stop. Visiting the Royal Palace? Take the metro to Opera and it’s a short – and beautiful – walk. Or head in another direction to the Plaza Mayor. Great meals and nightlife – head to Chueca. My favorite memory of using the Metro was the morning we went to visit Madrid’s El Rastro, the famed Madrid flea market.


We took the green line to La Latina, with what seemed like a million other Madrileñas. The station was subterranean, with hundreds and hundreds of steps to climb to get to the surface. There was an escalator, too, but after a few tense minutes, I was unable to fight my way in and join the masses on it. As I watched two of my roommates get on the escalator from my place at the side, I gave in and started to climb the stairs. They were endless but I persevered. As I neared the top, I heard a gravely voice call out in approval, “la fuerta!” At least, I think it was approval. After all, for that moment I was one of them: a Madrileña.


El Rastro, 2006

El Rastro, 2006


Question for the community: Have you ever traveled a city primarily through its Metro/Underground/Subway system? Did you feel like you got to know the city better for having used public transportation?



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Posted in Transportation |

When she plays piano in the dark

March 24, 2013 by Luann Edwards
Segovia Pianist

Segovia Pianist

It was a beautiful, dry July night in Segovia. We were writers, all women, all travelers, walking back to our hotel as slowly as possible, trying to breathe in everything about our last night in the city. It was late – almost 23:00 – but the sun hadn’t fully set. And as we rounded the corner, a woman – a girl, really – placed herself in front of the keyboard and began to play. (2011)

In some of the other blogs I’ve located online about Segovia, many of them describe day trips to Segovia. I supposed that, if I were a tourist, I would probably squeeze in a day in Segovia on my way to Madrid. In fact, I did exactly that in 2010 – I spent ten hours on a tour bus, rushing through the sights of Segovia and Avila before going back to the capital for a business meeting.

But now that I’ve spend more than a day in Segovia, it seems like a great sin to rush this beautiful city into one day. Do that, and it will never have a chance to creep into your soul. And travelers, you must go to this great walled city and absorb every tiny piece of it.

In 2011, I spent ten days with 12 travel writers in a workshop hosted by Brown University. We “lived” in the hotel Los Linajes, which was built into the hillside, just inside of the walled city. I tried to write about the experience on my blog, but  I barely scratched the surface – and two years have already passed. The tiny pieces of the Segovia puzzle took many days to come together. If I’d only had a day, I would have never noticed:


  •  i.e. universidad, a converted convent, with a nativity scene carved at the top. Ferdinand and Isabella could be seen kneeling beside the infant Jesus. (They were born several hundred years too late, but the monarchs wanted to be a part of it anyway.)
  • How the sun never quite felt like it set; the sky was always a deep, dark navy with a glow at its edge from twilight until dawn.
  • The most delicious cake, traditional ponche con natilla, that is from Segovia. I have never forgotten the crunchy-sugar top.
  • The impromptu wedding in the plaza mayor; the bride was dressed like a pinup model, and she arrived on the back of a Vespa. So did their 30 guests.



  • A question for the community: When have you ever taken a day trip to a town that crept into your mind, and you wish you’d stayed for longer?


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Posted in Cities in Spain |