800px-Vista-aerea-general-de-SegoviaI headed to Spain with the rest of the Australian Para Cycling team on Wednesday.  We arrived in Barcelona after 22 hours of flying only to be confronted with an 8 hour drive to Segovia.  I had been to Segovia in June of 2012 for the World Cup and absolutely fell in love with this city.

Segovia was first recorded as a Celtic possession, with control eventually transferring into the hands of the Romans.  This city is so old that it was the possible site of the battle in 75 BCE where Metellus was victorious over the general of Sertorius, Hirtuleius. Hirtuleius died in the fighting.

During the Roman period the settlement belonged to one of numerous contemporary Latin convents. It is believed that the city was abandoned after the Islamic invasion of Spain centuries later.  Segovia’s position on trading routes made it an important center of trade in wool and textiles. The end of the Middle Ages saw something of a golden age for Segovia, with a growing Jewish population and the creation of a foundation for a powerful cloth industry. Several splendid works of Gothic architecture were also completed during this period. Notably, Isabella I was proclaimed queen of Castile in the church of San Miguel de Segovia on December 13, 1474.

In 1985 the old city of Segovia and its Aqueduct were declared World Heritage by UNESCO.  The Aqueduct of Segovia, located in the much-visited Plaza del Azoguejo, is the defining historical feature of the city, dating from the late 1st or early 2nd century.[2] Acknowledged as the most important Roman civil engineering work in Spain, it consists of about 25,000 granite blocks held together without any mortar, and spans 818 meters with more than 170 arches, the highest being 29 meters high. (With thanks to Wikipedia for this info)

I must say that this city is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been too.  I love the history around it!

The way of life in Spain is amazing and I always wonder how they actually survive, with shops closing down for afternoon siesta and with life continuing on well into the night hours.  The sun doesn’t go down during summer until between 10-11pm and to see children playing outside after 10pm still surprises me.  So life has taken a dramatic turn with dinner being served at 8pm each night and instead of getting up at 5 or 6am to train we are actually going out around 9am or later!  The surrounding area is fabulous and riding through the countryside has been fantastic.  Good roads through gorgeous old towns with people yelling “Hola” as we ride by in our Aussie gear and vehicles giving us a wide berth (not one angry honk or driver so far!).

We have been here a couple of days now and are into the swing of training, eating, resting, exploring and will do this for the next couple of weeks before the World Cup.  I am very excited as we have the largest number of T2 women ever with 7 competing and along with 5 T1 women we will have 12 starters riding together!  There are a number of new riders so it will be interesting to see who is around and how fast they will be.

 

Aqueduct at the entrance to Segovia

Aqueduct at the entrance to Segovia

A bit of retail therapy and exploring with Hannah and Alex

A bit of retail therapy and exploring with Hannah and Alex

 

Outside the castle with Hannah

Outside the castle with Hannah

 

Beautiful countryside to ride through

Beautiful countryside to ride through