Spain Travels – A Land of History and Great Food!
Navacerrada, La Granja, Segovia and Madrid
During our final days in Spain we were graciously hosted by Luis Miguel who we met skiing at Skeena Cat skiing in BC. We stayed at a hotel in Navacerrada where he has a ‘country home’ to beat the heat of Madrid and to maintain his sanity away from the bustle of such a huge city. Navacerrada is a nice small town at 1894m with trails! and a ski area! Yes there is snow near Madrid. In fact there was snow on the ground when we were there, then it left… Navacerrada is on the way to two other historical sites in Spain – Jardins De La Granja and Segovia.
The Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso was the summer residence of the Spanish Kings since the 1700’s until it was given to the people. It has many fountains and gardens that are now open to the public. Notable about the design of the gardens is that the natural slope was used for the views and to use gravity to force water down through the 26 sculptured fountains. So while it looks opulant, it really is quite sustainable. The fountains represent scenes from classical Greek mythology. They are made from lead and covered in bronze or marble to prevent corrosion. Only a few fountains are active on any given day, but twice a year during certain festivals all twenty six fountains are activated by jets.
We then walked around Segovia. Segovia is another Spanish town with a rich and diverse history. Known for the Roman Aqueduct, a Gothic Cathedral and Alcazar of Segovia – a medieval castle. First inhabited by the Celts, then the Romans, it was then abandoned until resettled by the Christians.
The Aqueduct was built by the Romans in the 1st or 2nd century, and still delivers drinking water. It was built with 25,000 granite blocks held together without mortar, 818m long, 29m high and has 170 arches. Space cranes?
The Alcazar was built in 1122 as a resident of the Kings of Castile with Gothic and Mudejar architecture. It is shaped like a the bow of a ship and has served as a Royal Palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery Collete and Military Academy.
The Cathedral was the last Gothic cathedral to be built in Spain in 1768. You had to pay to go in so we didn’t.
Our last day was spent walking around Madrid with the other Spaniards we met while skiing, Carlos and his wife for dinner, Christian and Paco. We did take in some history, but mostly walked around, chatted, drank beer and ate Tapas! Really coudn’t have had a better last day in Spain! In Madrid we stayed at the Leonardo Hotel Madrid. Right in the city center. Great service, breakfast and location.