Though a lover of all things rural i have visited hundreds of cities and towns around Europe, and a few outside of Europe, but there is none that i love to return to..like Segovia.
Segovia has so many things going for it..its ancient stones, its closeness to the mountains, its lively town center, its many late medieval monuments and its fine cathedral that stands out above the rooves from kilometers away..but perhaps the thing that i like most about the city is its dimensions. While undoubtedly a refined and elegant urban center, you can walk around it in an hour or so and in Segovia you are never far from the country. Indeed from many viewpoints higher up in the old town you can see wheatfields, green in Spring and gold in Summer-Autumn that give the mirage-like impression that if you reached out with your hand you could almost touch them. And you can certainly walk down from the old town in a few minutes to the treed areas along the rivers that conform and confine the urban settlement. It is perhaps this topographic conformation that gives Segovia its exceptional physical character. The promontory of rock on which the ancient city is perched narrows to a prow above the point where the Eresma and Clamores rivers meet, and upon this prow there rises a majestic structure..
In English there is an old fashioned expression which speaks of “castles in Spain” in reference to imaginary or fantastic projects. Before i came to live in Spain, more than twenty years ago, such was my ignorance that i had practically no images of the country at all..though really i should say that i had one image in my head to work with, perhaps a little removed from the day to day reality of modern urban Spain, perhaps even fantastic.. it was the image of a magnificent castle perched on a great prow of rock, the Alcazar of Segovia. Little did i know it then but it was facing North, towards the Pyrenees, towards Ireland, towards me.. Years later when i first visited Segovia i was not disappointed by the reality..and even today this almost ethereal construction, embedded in this wonderful city, still represents profoundly so much that is Spain for me.