This past weekend, I went to Segovia with the WIPT program. First, we stopped near the edge of the city to look up at the base of the Alcazar castle. I don’t have many good pictures to show for that adventure because the sunrise blocked out the shape of the castle, but damn was it beautiful. It’s hard to imagine people actually building a structure as massive as that castle. There was a mini exhibition of tools used to make the castle in a courtyard, and they didn’t look like much. There were a few scattered hand tools and various levers and pulleys, but nothing that looked hefty enough to handle the huge granite pieces of the castle.
Next, we bussed into the city center to look at the aqueducts of Segovia. If you’ve ever heard of or googled a picture of Segovia, you’ve heard about its aqueducts. They are huge granite structures that carry fresh mountain water down to the city. There is no mortar holding the bricks together, so excellent craftsmanship and the keystone are the only things holding the structure together. The whole thing from a distance is really quite amazing. I’ll attach some pictures but they don’t really do the aqueducts justice.
In the city center, I stopped for a bit to see a Spaniard sing his heart out with a classical guitar. I loved his voice, and the way it carried through the mountain air. He wore a big coat and hefty scarf because it was only in the high 50s that day, and Spaniards don’t tolerate the cold very well.
In other news, my understanding of Spanish has gotten better bit by bit. Long tours like the one we had in Segovia are still relatively hard for me, but I would even say that I have improved significantly since then. The hardest things for me to understand are pieces of information about which I have no bases of understanding to begin with– and ancient cathedrals are one of those things. On the other hand, my history class is really great because we are talking about the second world war. Even though the teacher may bring up pieces of the war I’m not familiar with, I still generally know what’s going on. This has helped tons with my vocabulary because I can fill in pieces of Spanish based on what I know already.
Overall, I’m learning to love Spanish culture. If you ask a Spaniard for directions, the joke is that they’ll give you some whether they know where you want to go or not. It’s just part of Spaniard good nature to offer help and exchange a smile. They are a culture of three main priorities: red wine, late dinner, and laughter. More generally, they just like to enjoy life as it passes. If I can, I’d like to take this back with me to the US.