Tag Archive: Segovia

We were too lazy to plan where next to go. Giving in to instant and impromptu day trip plans, we woke up early one morning and decided we’d have a cochinillo lunch in Meson de Candido in Segovia. Hopped on the metro, off at Chamartin Station, straight into the Venta de Billetes to buy our ida y vuelta tickets for Segovia. We planned on staying at least 8 hours to enjoy the old town – the aquaduct, the Alcazar, Catedral, Museos, the cordero or cochinillo and a few, choice pastelerias. All in freezing -2C weather. But it snowed the night before in Segovia and the station is blanketed in snow. The man from Cercanias said the train will take us there but there’s no way we can reach the town proper from the isolated estacion because no buses nor taxis are available to ferry us out of the train station. Boo!

(Here are photos sourced from the Net on Segovia situation. Same snow situation in Avila, btw)

And so we hurried back — just as it also started to snow in Chamartin Station — to the ticket office to return our day tickets and claim a refund. Another time, perhaps. But we’re all bundled up for a day out and have no wish to be home early! Entonces, we returned to the ticket counter and bought tickets for the next train headed for….. Alcala de Henares. The hometown of Miguel de Cervantes, of Don Quixote fame. It is also home to a university founded by Cisneros. Cardinal, Regent and close adviser to Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabela of Castile.

We took the Cercanias slow train and reached Alcala in under an hour. Still freezing at 3C, we only managed to visit a church, Cervantes’ Home, Plaza Cervantes with the ayuntamiento, the Universidad and the quaint, cobblestoned streets of Alcala de Henares. Oh yes, a little bit of “stork-watching” too. Told my sobrina and nieta that these storks seem to have “regal addresses” as they’ve taken up residences in many of the tall spires around this UNESCO Heritage Site.

Man of La Mancha. Don Quixote. And his squire Sancho Panza. We’ve met twice before and we meet a third time more. Their life-size bronze statues guard Cervantes’ home, now a Museo. Casa Natal de Cervantes is right along the town’s cobblestoned, columns-lined Calle Mayor. Just off the Plaza Cervantes which locals have spruced up for the Christmas Season.

The first time I visited Alcala, I was all by myself. I knew I’d be back with family and friends. I was particularly amused by the “stork community” and earlier blogged about it. Just click on this link. But certainly, this town’s claim to fame lies in its old University and this celebrated man of literature. As for me, I’m happy enough to walk its streets, checking out those old columns, antique doors, gates, and (don’t laugh now) water spouts.

Btw, we were lucky to have changed our train tickets from Segovia to Alcala. The cochinillo place was blanketed in inches of snow, trapping many along the roads. Looks winter-nice in photos, but glad to be spared the ordeal of having to wait to be rescued. God is good!


I do not pretend to be a connoisseur, nor am I saying I’ve tried all culinary delights around here. But I dare say that what I have found so far, I LIKE!







A trip to Avila meant bringing home some boxes of those yemas and cookies irreverently called “Tetillas de Monja” . Lenten Season meant we should try that Lenten delicacy called “Torrijas” or “Torrejas” —- frankly a cross between a French Toast and a bread pudding.







In Segovia, never miss a cochinillo meal at no less than Meson de Candido. They didn’t build a monument for Candido for nothing. It’s only a half hour AVE train ride from Madrid. The cochinillo, the cathedral and the Alcazar are good enough reasons for a day out to Segovia.







Of course, one must try the authentic paellas here in España. We tried some when we sat and dined in Plaza Mayor, while watching the crowds in chilly weather. But the best was introduced to us by our foodie friends who brought us to this hole in the wall somewhere in Tres Peces, 20 near the Anton Martin metro station. It is called Ventorillo Murciano.



A trip to the Mercado de San Miguel is also a must-try. Have your cheese and croqueta fix here. Or grab a drink or two while savoring some boquerones, Jamon, langostinos or some other shellfish. We even found some Chicharon, which they call cucurucho!







We checked out Casa Botin, that oldest running restaurant in the world, but there was a long line that Easter Sunday. No problem. The same foodie friends D and J introduced us to another Hemingway favorite haunt. Restaurante Salvador does not serve Botin’s suckling pig (besides, we had our cochinillo fix in Segovia) but it certainly serves the best Rabo de Toro. My friends said this is the same place where matadors hang out after a corrida. And one of them matadors had an affair with no less than Ava Gardner. Whether it was after or during her marriage to Frank Sinatra is debatable. But who cares if one is served bull’s tails for dinner?







Now, if you’re on a tight budget…..you don’t have to do Mc Donald’s or KFC here. Do check out some local food chain. There is Museo del Jamon, and there is Paradiso del Jamon. Both serve €1 bocadillos (sandwiches) and some good ol’ Spanish delicacies from Quezo, Jamon, Callos, Albondigas, Tortilla, etc. You choose!






But do save some euros for that churros con chocolate. If you go to the palenque (market), you can have your desayuno (breakfast) of cafe or chocolate WITH either churros or porras (like bicho bicho) for only €2. Cheaper than a Mc Do breakfast! Or you may want to line up for some freshly-baked breads and pastries (like Garnier’s) but it would be difficult to resist the pastries. At least ONCE, try the churros con chocolate ☕in either Chocolateria San Gines off Calle del Arenal near Puerta del Sol, OR Valor near Plaza Callao.


Buen Provecho!



When I think of Segovia, I would always have this fleeting image of a cochinillo in all its shining crispness. I could even almost hear the crackling sound way before that crunchy skin touches my lips. Sure, I’m a glutton without remorse. But let me explain.







Back in 2002, I set out on a tour of Spain armed with a long list of must-visit destinations and an equally long list of errr……must-try eats. Among them is the cochinillo at the Meson de Candido. Unfortunately, we landed in Segovia during Lent. On Good Friday at that. Meatless Friday. You don’t know how I’ve always dreamed of that cochinillo all these last 10 years!







Sans liver sauce. Sans all those herbs like our Cebu lechon. But it sure tastes gooooood. Ten years of frustration completely wiped out with the first bite! (I’m shameless when it comes to food). So glad we started our tour of Segovia with a “proper lunch”. By the time we were ready to walk around, we were hopping with energy.







The 2,000 year old Roman aqueduct is Segovia’s claim to fame. Well, besides the cochinillo of course. Even the Segovians have no pretensions about this and even built a statue to honor Señor Candido. These days, the restaurant is run by Candido’s nephew. Sobrino de Candido. Much like Madrid’s CASA Botin is now called Sobrino de Botin. Which makes me wonder……what happened to the hijos, or hijas?







Outside of the cochinillo and ancient aqueduct, Segovia has so much more to offer. Half a day visit doesn’t do it justice. And do get a local guide to walk you through the medieval town. The Segovia Cathedral and Alcazar are must-sees. I was particularly impressed with the icons and sculptures inside the cathedral. Gregorio Fernandez’ “Cristo Yacente” needs sometime to “digest”. Initially, I thought the sculpture lies on a light blue blanket and that a piece of that fabric was likewise placed over parts of Christ’s body. It looked so real, with its many folds, that you wouldn’t think it’s part of the sculpture. If I knew he was this good, I would have paid more attention viewing his art at the Museo de Prado. This tour also introduced me to Juan Juni with his masterful interpretation of “Llanto Sobre Cristo Muerto”. I took close-up shots of the facial expression on one of the statues, showing pure agony.







As for the Segovian Alcazar, this is really more than just another royal castle. The architecture and interiors artfully combine Romanesque, Gothic and Mudejar influences. The royal residence was also among the favorites of some monarchs which include Alfonso X, Henry IV and Isabela the Catholic. Within the medieval walls, one also finds former synagogues attesting to earlier Jewish settlements.



Mind you…..while this is already my 2nd visit, my recollection of the Alcazar was actually limited to the story that the royal castle inspired Walt Disney to design Sleeping Beauty’s castle in that theme park. Easy to forget this petty trivia once you get inside the royal residence. What’s more, you get a lovely view of Segovian landscape from one of the towers. No wonder the former monarchs loved it here!