Sunday, September 23, 2012

Knights in Castles

Yesterday, Amanda and I went on an adventure to a town called Sigüenza, in the Guadalajara province in Castilla La Mancha.  We took the train from Alcalá to Chamartín station in Madrid, where we wandered around for a little while before we found our medieval train to Sigüenza.  The train itself was an utterly average contemporary train, but on the platform we were greeted by minstrels and other medieval characters.

While on board, these characters went up and down the train cars, interacting with each other and with the passengers: at one point, I was enlisted by the beggar on the right to help him steal back his confiscated knapsack from the priest.  I was alarmed when he pulled me out of my seat because their Spanish was so fast that I was worried I wouldn’t understand what he wanted me to do, but he never actually said anything.  Instead, I just followed his lead and we walked the length of the train car arm in arm, whistling casually, and I had to stand and look innocent while blocking the priest’s view so that my accomplice could steal back his belongings.  It was fun!

Upon arrival in Sigüenza, we disembarked and were divided into groups and given a tour guide, also in costume.  She took us throughout the town.  Highlights included the medieval market in Plaza Mayor, the remnants of the old city walls, a museum about the Spanish guitar, and of course, the castle and the cathedral.  Both ancient and impressive, these were the highlights of the day.  The town is built on a hill, and the castle is at the summit, so from there, you could see for miles around (ahem, kilometers around).  The cathedral is massive and ornate.  Inside, it was dimly lit, which only made the high stained glass windows more dramatic.
                After our tour, we were treated to a skit by our medieval amigos from the train.  Amanda and I found it difficult to follow due to the speed of the dialogue, but still entertaining.  During the break at siesta time, we treated ourselves to ice cream cones and wandered around the town, but unfortunately, almost everything was closed for siesta.  At the end of the day, we rode the train back to Madrid and then back to Alcalá.  Overall it was a great day, and we’re already planning our next adventures!

1 comment:

  1. The "demonstrations" in Spain are making the top of the evening news in the US. Also, Spain's government decision to impose new austerity measures seems to be progressing?
    The above link is to one of Spain's largest women's retail chains: ZARA. Pull & Bear, Bershka, etc. What do you ladies think about these stores?

    Do you plan to go to the Basque country? If so let met hear all about it.

    Remember, the Costa del Sol is where all the billionaire Arab oil sheiks vacation in the winter months. If you always wanted to become a member of a harem, then I would recommend paying a visit to this play ground of the rich and famous. Russians like to go there too. They are the new oil barons.