Inside the castle, each room felt more impressive than the last. It was a perfect tour. I would get to a room, think, “this must be the peak,” and then say the exact same thing about the next room.
Our tour began at the very bottom of the castle, working our way up to the very top, on the azotea (terrace rooftop) of the tallest tower of the alcázar (palace), the Torre de Juan II.
The cellar was empty and rough. A deep, dark pit was blocked off by a wrought iron grate, but there were sparkling coins glittering inside. I turned away from the pit to see Bill standing with his face in the corner.
Upstairs, the first two rooms of the tour were lined with suits of armor. Nearly all of them were shorter than I am, and some of them were very tiny — making them 1/3 the size of my future students. Despite their dainty appearance, I’m very nearly positive that each and every one would outlast me in a fistfight.
The throne room had a moorish-inspired ceiling with the mirrors and intricate patterns, but it was more angular than the throne room in the Real Alcázar in Sevilla. It had two large portraits, one each of Ferdinand and Isabella.
The royal bed was surprisingly small, perhaps 1/3 the size of a current king size bed. Reasons not to travel back in time: people will chase you with pitchforks thinking you’re a giant. Everything was covered in smooth red velvet. I wonder if kings and queens kicked the covers off their beds on hot summer nights to find them tangled and crumpled on the floor in the morning. Now their blankets are crushed velvet.
Midway up the palace was a terrace with pretty views all around.
Right in the middle of the terrace was a well. There was still water in the bottom, but no pulley to bring it up anymore. Bill took a video of himself dropping a coin inside, and you can see it splash at the bottom.
From here, we passed through more rooms filled with armor, flags, and cannons until we reached the chapel. Throughout, the artwork was very gruesome, reminding me of Hieronymous Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder. And Quentin Tarantino.
Finally we got to the bottom of the Torre de Juan II, where we warned not to even try if we weren’t in good shape.
The staircase was steep, cramped, and dimly lit — but also worth it. At the top, there seemed to be no such thing as a best place to look out at the scenery. Every spot was gorgeous, especially since it was the final golden hour before sunset.
Of course my photography can’t even begin to capture the depth and color and vastness of the scene, but I will try to show you:
Here is the other side:
And here’s the side overlooking the cathedral:
Before the sunset could fully kick in, we headed back to the bus stop to catch the train back to Madrid. One last view of the castle:
And we arrived at the station:
We got there sooner than expected, so Bill pulled out his harmonica.
I took pictures of the sunset, which was really this bright and deep.
And, of course, before you leave, here are some Segovian cats: