My short time in Segovia has been just lovely.
Just like the experiences I had in Toledo and Salamanca (posts I will hopefully get to at some point!), when I got off the bus and started making my way towards the historical center of the town where my hostel was, I instantly felt comfortable and at ease, despite the heat of the afternoon and the weight of my backpacks (yep, that’s plural…I made a conscious effort to pack light, but I ended up with my large backpack on my back and a day pack in front, but luckily neither is 100% full).
And while I have thoroughly enjoyed wandering the cobblestone streets (which seems to be a favorite activity of mine), and exploring the cathedral and Disney-esque Alcázar with my travel companion, Barbara (who I met in Toledo and who then chose to a day trip out to Segovia today), a few things have really stuck out as the unique and unexpected experiences of this part of my trip.
For one thing, the welcome I received on my arrival at the quirky and friendly Duermevela Hostel was the most wonderful I’ve had from any hostel I’ve stayed at in my entire time in Europe so far. Guillermo made my transition into Segovia easy and fun, and this little place he runs is without a doubt one of the most charming and cozy hostels I’ve ever stayed at. The beds are comfortable, there are full BATHS and showers in the bathrooms, and the hostel is located in a quiet and convenient area just outside the old city walls.
To top it off, just as I was settling in, Guillermo invited me to eat lunch with him, his friends, and a musical group that had been hanging out and practicing in the hostel that afternoon prior to their performance later that night (I’ll get to that in a bit). In wonder and amazement at this random and above-and-beyond act of hospitality, I munched on some brown rice, chicken and vegetable stir fry and hearty wheat and poppyseed bread (something other than white bread, for once!) and listened to Guillermo, his amiable friends, and the zany band chat away.
My stay here essentially has only further strengthened my faith in Hostelworld as a reliable hostel-booking site. I can honestly say that, in all of the places I’ve stayed at on independent trips (from Tenerife, Lisbon, and Paris, to these past three in Toledo, Salamanca, and Segovia), I have yet to be disappointed.
The other unexpected yet surely serendipitous experience I’ve had here occurred last night. Guille had informed me that I had arrived in Segovia right in the middle of one of their biggest festivals. Both he and the band that was hanging out here at the hostel encouraged to check out in particular the brass band concert showcase that was being held in a square a couple blocks down from the Cathedral and Plaza Mayor.
After a solid four hours of exploring, instead of calling it a night I chose to take their advice, and I’m so glad I did.
For what did I find on the way to the concert but a dance performance (labeled a “master class” in the festival pamphlet), on a stage in front of the hundreds-of-years-old Roman aqueduct, with a large crowd of spectators watching and doing their best to follow the hip hop and Latin moves to upbeat and catchy Spanish pop and reggaetón beats. I couldn’t help but laugh, take some pictures and video, and dance along a bit as well.
And then I came to the brass band concert. Four brass bands played in succession, and oh my goodness were they entertaining. The Dutch band, pictured above, entertained with the likes of Guns & Roses and other American classics, all whilst barefoot and sipping beers from plastic cups between songs.
But the last group to go, from El Espinar (a tiny town just three kilometers from Segovia), and the group that had organized this concert, definitely put on the biggest show, dressed in silly costumes, and by ending their set with a raucous march through the streets, with a jubilant crowd accompanying, dancing along, and snapping pictures.
As if my parading down a cobblestone street with a Spanish brass band in a UNESCO World Heritage site-deemed city wasn’t random and hilarious enough, we ran into another concert taking place when we reached the plaza in front of the aqueduct.
And what was this orchestra playing but the Superman theme…and so the brass band cut the music, as was appropriate, and got the rest of the accompanying crowd to pipe down. What a ridiculous evening.
I’ve had such a pleasant stay in Segovia, and thanks to Guille, Duermevela Hostel, and the wacky brass band of El Espinar, it was a particularly fun-filled and memorable one.