Ah, El Escorial, in the library. I was quite taken with the large model of the Ptolemaic solar system. It looked like it moved. I would really have loved to see it in motion. Of course, playing with 16th century artifacts is not the done thing, and it had a rope around it, so I restrained myself. The other point of note in the library was the inscription over the door. Felipe II had requested excommunication for anyone who took books out of the library – and he got it. The inscription read something like, “If you take books out of the library, you are excommunicated by Pope such-and-such.” And apparently it worked pretty well – though they did have to excommunicate one guy.
Segovia, of the dubious distinction of grossest bathroom I’ve seen here. I have seen worse, on occasion, but not very often. And I have seen wooden boxes in the middle of the woods that were more welcoming. Quite aside from the fact that there wasn’t any toilet paper, and the toilets were circular bowls that flushed, it smelled pretty awful, and a few of the stalls were quite yucky. I decided that I didn’t need to go that badly. In Segovia’s defense, it was also the only place I’ve seen recycling bins. There was a Roman aquaduct (impressive, and I’m glad I saw it, but don’t come to Spain just to see Segovia’s aquaduct).
AND there was a castle. I liked the castle (though it was a little disappointing; there was a big fire, and so the interior was re-done around the 1850’s (though they had gotten some replacement thrones and tapestries and things, but most of the woodwork and the frescos were reproductions based on drawings. Which was nice, but I would have prefered originals)). But hey, it was still a castle. And not just any castle, but a castle that was an inspiration for Neuschwanstein. I never did get a decent picture of the front (it was too big, and I couldn’t get far away enough), but afterwards we hiked down and away a bit, and took pictures of with the evening sun shining on it.
We climbed the main tower (152 steps, eek, and half of them were this narrow spiral staircase which had poor traffic flow (it really wasn’t wide enough for people to go both up and down, but when you have that many steps it’s hard to coordinate), but no one fell or died or anything, and the view was nice (although I wouldn’t feel a need to climb up again if I were to go back)).
I ought to go now.