August 19, 2009 - Posted by Erin in Travels in Spain

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Last weekend we stayed in Spain, and I say “Spain” because it was hardly possible for us to stay in Madrid. We intended to have no plans on Saturday and to just take it easy, getting things done, running errands, but we ended up going out to Segovia with Garen and Heather. Heather had been there the first weekend she arrived to Spain, but back then it was snowing, and was hardly the way to enjoy the city. So, since Heather was in the mood to see it again, and Garen hadn’t been, we offered to take them.

The trip was full of the usual stops – the aqueduct, the cathedral, the alcazar. Although I’ve been many times now, I never seem to tire of such a charming city – there’s always something new to discover.

On Sunday, we went out to Valladolid to visit Jacob’s Aunt Ana Maria who stays there during the summer. She stays in a small city called Medina del Campo, which, as she told us, used to be the heart of Spain. Medina del Campo is where Queen Isabel spent a lot of time and also passed away. She is the Queen whom, with her husband the King, evangelized Catholicism in Spain – a time in history that the Spaniards consider true Spain to have begun.

Ana Isabel proudly showed us the city – the Plaza Mayor which is as large as Madrid’s, the Roman bridge near her house, the palace where Queen Isabel passed away and so on. Oh yes, and most important, the stop at the panaderia/pasteleria with the most heavenly breads and pastries!

After checking out the town, we headed to the castle for a tour. It was there that we were able to see Roman ruins of a village that was outside the castle some several hundred years BC. We learned about the castle walls, the durability of the brick of which the castle was made of (who would have thought that brick is far more durable than just good old rock – apparently it can handle more impact!). We were actually quite surprised to see such a massive castle made of brick, partly because we’d never seen such a thing before, but also because we didn’t realize that that was something used that far back (in the 1400s).

Inside the castle, Ana Maria pointed out the room to us which she stayed in as a young girl when she went to learn how to knit, sew and cook (I need one of those courses – in a castle please!). We were also able to go behind all of the canon windows/holes and learn how they would run such a defensive effort – high ceilings to withhold the smoke, holes in the roof for light and to let the smoke out, white ceilings to help make everything brighter, and so on. It was really quite fascinating.

After the tour of the castle, we headed out to another small pueblo, Olmedo, for a much needed lunch. We ate at a charming little restaurant where we enjoyed clams and jamon – everything was delicious as usual.

It was a lovely weekend, albeit busy. I must admit, I need a weekend to just recover and prepare for our next big trip to Florence the following weekend.

Check out a few pics at: http://gallery.me.com/erin.ridley#100546