To celebrate my husband’s and brother’s big birthday we decided to throw a huge party in Peñafiel, home to its famed castle and the center of many wonderful Ribera del Duero wines.
Day One: We departed north from Madrid towards Peñafiel. We were traveling with a good friend who had never been to Segovia and decided to stop there for lunch at our favorite place to eat “cochinillo” (suckling pig), Mesón de Cándido. We got a little bit lost along the way, because my husband took a wrong exit, and it was close to 4:00pm, so I called to inquire if they were still serving lunch. The man who answered the phone decided to stay on line with us as we drove, giving us detailed directions, precisely predicting each rotonda and marker we would pass, until we would physically reach him, waiting for us, standing below the roman aqueduct. Wearing his white chef smock, he was Cándido, the grandson, of the family of Cándidos who own this famed restaurant with views to the Aqueduct. Press the link above to read more about the history of this family and the restaurant. I have taken various family members and friends, at different times to celebrate big birthdays. Cándido conducts a ritual of the cutting of the pig with the edge of the plate, followed by the smashing of the plate. A video of this ritual from our 2007 visit, celebrating my niece’s 15th bday is below.
The Roman Aqueduct from the first century A.D. spans 15km of arcs formed by granite blocks. Of special note is the double archway overlooking the Azoguejo plaza.
Post lunch we stopped by the river park, Alameda de Fuencisla, to capture the views of the Alcazar de Segovia. This less visited area of Segovia has the Convent of San Juan de la Cruz and the not to be missed, romanesque Church of Vera Cruz. This church has a very interesting dodectagonal plan, and in its center, it has a small two-level “edículo” or temple. You can read more about it on the link above. We were able to peak inside, moments before a wedding. My little nieces believed the “tale” that the bride was the princess who lived in the castle above.
Alameda de Fuencisla
Church of Vera Cruz and Segovia skyline
View of top and lower floor of the central “edículo” or central temple
Detail of the stair to the upper level of the edículo, with the flags of the Order of Malta
Plan of the church
lower level of circular central temple
Of course, Segovia offers much more to see, and it merits a long day trip from Madrid. I will eventually add more sights to see. The first stop would be the Alcazar or castle which is rumored to be the source of inspiration to Disney’s Cinderella castle. It offers great guided tours, for more info press on the link. Proceed to walk the city’s core and cathedral.
We proceeded to our final destination of day one of our weekend festivities: Peñafiel.