Our early start towards Madrid started at 8 am. The road took us past Burgos and Lerma. Along the way we experience rolling hills of wheat and sunflowers. On this road, we saw the greatest number of wind turbines yet. Our guide explained the Spanish obtain 16% of their power from these wind turbines. One day of the turning windmill will power a family for a year. Apparently they are a huge money maker for the farmers who allow these windmill / wind turbines on their land. They grow the sunflower for their oil which is used in their fuel.
We stopped for lunch and a short tour at Segovia. A beautiful city. Our bus dropped us off right by the Aqueduct. The structure was amazing. Our guide explained the stones were placed without cement and have simply stuck together thanks to gravity for hundreds of years. When we arrived, we immediately sat down for lunch at La Casa Candido where their specialty is cochinillo (baby pig) so soft he used to use a plate to cut it up, no knife needed. We didn’t have much time for shopping before meeting the group for a short tour.
Our guide took us on a short walking tour which included the Alcazar. The first stop as we climbed to the city center we stopped to look over the edge to the mountain which formed the ‘sleeping lady’. The story goes that the mother sacrificed herself so her sons would stop fighting. Our guide also took us inside a building with a beautiful courtyard. He explained even though we were looking at building facades from the streets, behind the facades, most buildings contain courtyards similar to it. We saw St Michaels Cathedral in its Roman style and also the Gothic style Basilica. We continued our walk towards the Alcazar through narrow cobblestone streets with amazing view of golden fields.
The Alcazar to me reminded me of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The castle is over 500 years old and suffered a fire at one point. Currently, an academy is also housed here. However, visitors are still welcomed. Our tour of the Alcazar started in a room with armors and continued through to a dining room decorated with azulejos (blue and white tiles from the Toledo region) and commonly found in castles. I won’t describe things room by room, but will tell you the views of the country side from windows were breathtaking and the decorated ceilings were magnificent. Your visit will include the throne room and Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand’s bedroom. After our visit to the Alcazar, it was a healthy walk back to the bus along the old city walls.
That evening we arrived in Madrid. Our hotel in Madrid, Hotel Emperatriz located in Lopez de Hoyos 4, was a stark difference from our hotel in Bilbao, Melia, but it did have wifi! Anthony and I took a cab to where my husband lived when he was born in 1971. There area is currently a lower middle class neighborhood and still features the same park my in-laws described. Our dinner this evening started at 8 pm with our group at the Cinco J(otas) about a block from Lopez de Hoyos on Serrano. It was a great time with some great new friends! Later that evening we went to la Chocolateria for some hot chocolate and churros, just like the Madrilenos do. The hot chocolate was so thick, you an balance a spoon on top of it.