After a recent trip to Vienna, I wrote about how my Austrian friend grew up in a small village with a castle on a hill. What was originally intended to be a piece of ‘travel writing’, somehow turned into a jealous rant… because I decided that I wanted a castle too.
The funny thing is, I’ve got one.
The Alcazar of Segovia was originally an Arab fortress built upon Roman ruins, and has since been converted into a royal palace, a prison, a royal artillery college and a military academy. It was the refuge of Queen Isabel of Spain during the 15th century, and it’s more recent claim to fame is that it was the inspiration behind Disney’s Cinderella Castle.
I’ve been living in Segovia for nearly nine months now, and the Alcazar hasn’t ceased to impress me. It’s not just that it’s a beautiful building, it’s the way it’s situated… tall and proud on the edge of a rocky outcrop, like a giant stone fairytale pirate ship, or something.
Due to a recent improvement in the weather (and my orientation skills), I’ve been doing a bit more running of late, and some of the different routes allow me to see the Alcazar from different angles. As a result, the castle now seems more familiar. I recognise the turrets and stonework, just as I recognise the twists and bends of Segovia’s sidestreets. I’m no longer a gawking tourist, I’m a part of the city… I know my way round, I have a role in society, a routine, a local bar, a favourite spot in the libray, and a preferred cafe. And now, the Alcazar is familiar enough that I really do consider it ‘my castle’.
Here’s a happy snap I took this afternoon. Just after I took the photo, there was an impressive bolt of lightning in the background. If only I had been a fraction slower!