Welcome to Spain! Aranjuez and Segovia.

One quick note about the people I’ve met so far in Spain (specifically the younger people 20-30). Most are working on learning english. My friends had a very basic understanding of English two years ago but now we have full conversations without much “como se dice” (“how do you say?”). It’s actually fun chatting with them because they are dying to learn all the normal expressions and sayings and different, more complex, words to replace the the ones they already know. It’s really cool and makes me wish I knew more Spanish (yes mom, you were right…)

I’m learning basic words here (very slowly) but most conversations with them are in English. When they are speaking to each other in Spanish I will pick up words here or there that help me understand the basic conversation they are having.

A lot of the people I met are either going to or have lived abroad to help expand their English. The two girls I am staying with, Angela (who lived in Toronto for a year before my last visit) and Andrea, are looking to move to London in a few weeks (I explained that many of the expressions and sayings I’m teaching them probably won’t apply the same there, but, o well. )

(my beautiful hosts below. Angela on the left and Andrea on the right)
Andrea and Angela in Aranjuez

One other reason they are looking to move is the economy here is really tough for young people. Most of them are “nini” or “without work” and just kind of coasting right now. It’s not by choice and they’re not bums, it’s just there aren’t any jobs available. And even ones that are available pay very little. One of their friends is making 150 euros.. A MONTH!!

A lot of people are being forced to work more hours for the same pay. It is really rough here right now but it has not stopped everyone from having a good time and going totally out of their way to make me feel welcome and at home.

ARANJUEZ –  (‘Are En Weth’) 

We walked around Aranjuez a bit on tuesday when I arrived. We took a short tour of the grounds around the Royal Palace and the gardens around it. The king, who I guess lived in Madrid, wanted a summer home so they built this. The grounds are beautiful and were meant to take you away from the sounds of the city and into the sounds of nature. It is successful in its attempts. The town is pretty typical to a town on Long Island (per se) but is much more beautiful. My friends live in a condo-esq home, 3 bedrooms and an office (which has been converted with a bed for your’s truly). The are plenty of shops and and stores and restaurants in town.

Aranjuez was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in December 2001. Not sure exactly what this means but I believe it is similar to a place being a protected or historical site in the states.

Aranjuez, Madrid, Spain Palace

Segovia

Segovia is located about 2 hours north of Aranjuez and about 45 minutes north of Madrid. It’s another beautiful and very old city with aqueducts dating back more than 2000 years. One ‘tale’ about the aqueducts is that a long time ago a women made a deal with the devil because she didn’t want to walk everyday to get water. So the devil made the aqueduct. I am not sure what she gave up but obviously this is just a tall tale.

There is a palace here in Segovia and there is another possible ‘tall tale’ (although this one seems more plausible). The queen was standing on the balcony of one of the towers in the palace. While she was holding her baby, she someone dropped him all the way down and it died. Fearing what the king would do to her, she jumped herself instead of facing the king.

We took a walk through the “jewish neighborhood” in Segovia and stopped at the Cathedral de Segovia (below). Very beautiful architecture and we stopped just outside at a restaurant for some drinks and tapas (LOVE me some tapas).

Segovia Cathedral in Segovia Spain

Restaurants by the cathedral:

We hit a couple restaurants for tapas and drinks outside the cathedral in segovia

Front entrance to the cathedral:

Cathedral de Segovia front entrance in Segovia, spain

The aqueducts:

The view from the top of the aqueducts in segovia, spain

Vera Cruz Church in Segovia:

in segovia spain, the vera cruz church as a great front door

Outside of Segovia:

This next shot is why you should always turn around when looking at something like a monument or tourist spot. We were outside of Segovia taking in the view of the whole town from the outskirts. It was very beautiful but I turned around and behind us was this little roadside restaurant made out of a transformed train car. Very cool.

a little restaurant outside of segovia.

Addendum!!!

Jamón and Tapas are two of the best things EVER. Jamón is essentially salt cured ham, but it is delicious. I didn’t really try it the last time I was here because i thought it was smoked like bacon (which I don’t like… yes, I know I’m crazy for not liking bacon).

Tapas is small plates of food. We’ve been eating these all day long here. Essentially, you stop at a tapas place, grab a drink, grab a few small appetizer size plates of food to share… and then go to another, and another, and another. It’s GLORIOUS!!!

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