Cumpleaños! (Birthday/trip to Toledo & Segovia)


Late again, I know.  But where were we? Ahhh yes, my birthday (January 26)! Birthdays are always great fun and this one did not disappoint.

Some fun highlights of the day itself:

-Had to work, obviously since it was a Thursday, but the director of my school played the Beatles singing “Happy Birthday” over the loudspeaker in my honor. Got lots of birthday wishes, besos and love from my colleagues and students.

-Came home to an ENORMOUS bouquet of lilies, irises and daisies from my fiancé, Jake and a sweet note. He is pretty much amazingly awesome and knows very well how much I delight in getting flowers.

-For all the faults of Facebook, it sure is fun on your birthday. I was overwhelmed by a mountain of birthday messages from family and friends in the U.S., friends in Spain and friends from the world-over and in several different languages, to boot! It was seriously splendid.

-Went out with a few friends for tapas (my favorite meal, of course) and hung out with a bunch of people at a friend’s flat before catching a 1:30 a.m. train to Toledo. I was fortunate beyond REASON and lucked out with the day after my birthday being a fiesta…meaning NO SCHOOL!

So we used the time to a bit of traveling. We spent all day in Toledo, which, though rainy and foggy, was quite amazing. It’s a gorgeous, medieval looking walled city that actually used to be the capital of Spain prior to Madrid. Here…just let the pictures do the talking.

View of foggy Toledo town from the top of a cathedral. The Alcazar is the large building to the left and the main cathedral to the right.

So mysterious looking at night...

A fascinating (and EXPENSIVE) antique shop with their selection of swords, of course...medieval weapons seem to be the preferred souvenir there, haha.

Gorgeous views...

Intricate embellishments on the walls of a synagogue we of only 3 remaining in Spain.

The next day we headed to Segovia— an easy daytrip from Madrid and a worthwhile one, I would say. It’s not a huge city by any means, but it’s worth the visit to see the awesomely old Roman aqueducts (built in the 1st century….FIRST CENTURY!) and the incredible fairy tale-looking castle that is the Alcázar.  We did, however, nearly freeze our hind-parts off. I recommend going in sometime other than winter! 🙂

The incredible Roman Aqueducts! (They are not held together with mortar or clamps or ANYTHING! Just incredible engineering.)

View from the Alcázar. Feels like you've gone back in time.

El Alcázar. So so awesome.

And THIS is what it looks like from the other side...hard to access unless you go down the cliff and probably quite far away from the city. Or from a helicopter. Photo via

Last but not least…we had attempted to get churros con chocolate about 5 times during the trip —and either the place didn’t have them, we got there and they were closed, or what have you. But finally…FINALLY we found some in Madrid and sat enjoying them in a park for the two hours we had till our connecting bus.

I call this: "triumphant churro face."


About briannehake

Language & culture assistant in Spain. Recent UNL Advertising & public relations grad. Thrilled about future possibilities. Addicted to traveling. Fascinated by CSR and sustainable development. Dreams someday of helping businesses and nonprofit organizations collaborate for better communities and a better world. And dancing. Lots of dancing.

3 responses »

  1. Now this is why your pictures are such a great gift to those of us who will never see the immense beauty of Europe! Thank you so much for including the captions as well. To me it seems that all our engineering students to be required to study medieval architecture. Not only is it enduring, just so beautiful ! Having studies Latin for four years in high school, I read a lot about the Roman way of uniting countries around the Mediterranean. However, verbal descriptions do not adequately include the striking beauty of an aqueduct which is also functional in distributing the water supply.
    Feliz cumpleanos !

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