Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the road to segovia

The drive from San Sebastian to Segovia takes four and a half hours on the Autovia 1 norte.

To get an accurate idea of the landscape, take a large tablecloth, shake it, and toss it on a table. Nearest to you, push the folds of the cloth high and close. This is the landscape of the Cantabrian coast, which compares to Hawaii in that there are steep mountains leading down into the sea and verdant vegetation because of the daily mists. Piercing the steep folds are tunnels that vary in lkength from a few hundred meters to several kilometers. Now begin to shorten the folds and space them a little further apart. The landscape changes to something more like that of the foothills of Colorado or midway through Kansas when one enters the Smokey Hills. The rain fall is reduced and the vegetation is still green, but not as thick as the coast line. Next, take the cloth and smooth into undulating flows like that of the Flint Hills of Kansas.

As Will and I enter these rolling hills, it begins to rain and, naturally, one hums, "the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain," a song from My Fair Lady, that I assume is not to be taken literally. These plains are covered in wheat fields as far as the eye can see. We have come to the city of Vitorio and the end of the Basque region. Now we are entering Castille-Leon, the home of King Ferdinand and Spain's most conservative region.

The table cloth is again ruffled and the further away from the coast we travel, the drier it becomes. Now the landscape looks a little like Arkansas with the juniper trees dotting the hills. Only a little further south are the mountains from which the water comes that fills the aquaduct that services Segovia. The closer we get to Segovia, the more hills appear. Again, as in Arkansas the roads twist and turn. rise and fall.

Suddenly, there Segovia is. From a distance one can see the aquaduct that Segovia is famous for. What has been preserved and restored rises or rather descends from the mountains to the south and empty into the city center.

We are here.

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