Friday, October 1, 2010

Madrid: The Spanish Capital and Segovia (Part 1)

Upon returning to Madrid from Lisbon, this time on easyJet, I checked into my hotel (Hostal Parajas) located near the Prado Museum and a Metro station, Antón Martín. By now I've acquainted myself with the city's subway system. But today was all about visiting the medieval town of Segovia and finally seeing the Alcázar castle in all its splendor.

Where's the perfect photo spot for the Cuatro Torres? It's just outside of the Chamartin Station.

The journey to Segovia begins at Madrid's Chamartín Station, a combined subway and commuter rail (RENFE) terminal. Chamartín is fairly easy to reach; even my hotel was just one ride away on Metro line 1. The subway portion of the station features a stunning blue light display that mimics a waterfall. As you go up the stairs and head out onto the ground level, you'll see a great view of the four towers of the Cuatro Torres Business Area, or CBTA. And then it happened. I did what all tourists, transit or otherwise, hope they never do: I got on the wrong train.

Instead of the high-speed AVE, I accidentally got on a slow train which stopped at towns such as this.

It was the wrong train because it was the slow train. I meant to take, and paid for, the high-speed AVE bullet train whose next stop would've been Segovia itself. Madrid-Segovia on the AVE costs approximately 10,00 each way. This train I accidentally went into was a commuter line that did go to Segovia, yes. After a million stops! Turns out that it would've been a more expensive ticket, anyway. In other words, I underpaid for a ride that went overtime.

The Segovia RENFE station is in the city. The city is small enough for taxiing around, actually.

Segovia has two rail stations: the original RENFE terminal (where I arrived) and the newer, sleeker Segovia-Guiomar AVE station. As I was pressed for time and Segovia is a rather small town, I decided to just hail cabs as needed.

There is a taxi stand here at Segovia's Roman Aqueduct. Hey, is that the way to the Alcazar?

I hailed a cab from the Segovia RENFE station to the Roman Aqueduct. Then again from there to the Alcazar.

Beautiful. Just beautiful. My taxi driver waited patiently while I took photos of my castle.

Then again from there to the Segovia-Guiomar AVE station.

The Segovia-Guiomar AVE Station may be outside the city limits, but a taxi ride is still affordable.

My total taxi tab was only around 20,00. Not bad, huh? And I finally took the right train back to Madrid. Speaking of Madrid, some of their Metro stations keep waiting riders entertained with big-screen TV broadcasts.

How can you be bored while waiting for your train when you've got shows like this? You can't.

And just like that, my reign in Spain was over. Time to prepare for my easyJet flight to Paris the next day to meet with my mom's tour group.

A nice farewell banner (for me?) between the subway station and terminals at Madrid-Barajas Airport.

My hotel was near the Antón Martín station, so it was [1] north to Tribunal, then [10] east to Nuevo Ministerios and finally, [8] to Aeropuerto. When using the Metro for airport transport, plan to arrive at the airport 2 hours before your departure, then allow 1-2 hours of train travel time so you're not late for your flight.

Metro Line 1:
Atocha <> Sol <> Tribunal <> Chamartín

Metro Line 10:
Tribunal <> Nuevo Ministerios <> Chamartín

Metro Line 8:
Nuevo Ministerios (end) <> Airport (end)

Madrid-Chamartín (end) <> Segovia-Guiomar <> Valladolid

¡Hasta la vista!

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