Picking up or car was crazy easy. But then it took us a full HOUR to find our way to the road to Segovia. The Italians bombard you with highway signage. The Spanish offer almost none!
Segovia's aquaduct was beyond anything we had expected. The size overwhelms you. That little Chinese alphabet character in the bottom right corner of the picture is actually two people standing on the road.
However, once we had walked the length, looked at and photographed it from every angle, and come to terms with our awe, there really wasn't much else to Segovia that interested us. So, we drove on to Avila and arrived there at about 3:00 PM.
We had a late lunch at a place called Las Murillas. It was good, but not great. While we sat there, we decided we were looking at the most perfect tree we'd ever seen. I fell in love with that tree. I don't know why. Maybe because of its size. Maybe its shape. Maybe the way the branches started at only a few feet off the ground. Who knows.
We decided to "rough it" and chose a two star hotel. It was clean, plenty of hot water & towels, breakfast included. At less than 40 Euro for the night, we figured we could do without the scented soaps and towel heater.
Another thing to recommend the Hostel Puerto del Alcazar was its ideal location directly across from the Alcarzar gate in Avila's wall. We were outside the wall and we had a free parking place right on the street in front of our hotel.
They showed us two rooms. One overlooking the busy street and other overlooking an interior roof patio. We chose the second because our ultimate need was quiet. This was a mistake. There were no screens and the roof patio was only 2 feet below our window. So, we were unable to sleep with an open window. We had a very stuffy and restless sleep.
The next morning we decided to spring for tickets to walk the ramparts of the wall. The walk doesn't cover the entire wall, and only about one in three of the towers is open, but still a great stroll with lovely views. A bonus was the hundreds of nesting storks. Storks everywhere.
While up there, we met a lovely Canadian woman named Liz, who was recently widowed. This was her first solo trip and she was taking it all by bus and train. She did almost all of her planning on Rick Steves website. She was quite ridgid about sticking to the plan laid out on his sight. Dan & I decided that it was probably what gave her the courage to do the trip alone. Good for her! I couldn't resist, however, offering her a SlowTrav card. I recommended that for her next trip, she may want to explore the ST website and philosophy.
We left Avila at about noon and headed for our intended destination of Salamanca. But, in what was to become a theme of our entire trip, we got turned around and missed the road, ending up on the road headed north toward Burgo.
Instead of turning around and heading back to find the right highway, we took it as a sign and decided, "Hey, why not go to Medina Del Campo instead?" We much prefer smaller towns, and weren't much in the mood for the hyper energy of a university town with several thousand exchange students from all over the world visiting.
This turned out to be one of our luckiest detours.