Puente de Segovia
I was so excited about seeing it. The photos online and in the free guide magazine looked amazing. So I took my camera, gave myself three hours til sunset, and headed to the metro with my map.
The afternoon was lovely, perfect for photos. The bridge was downhill from the metro stop which made the walk easy. When you cross the bridge you can't really see under it. I know, surprising, right? I suppose I imagined that as I approached it I'd see all it's splendor*. I stopped in the middle and looked out at the Manzanares River, or should I say mud? It's similar to the L.A. river.
Once across, I asked three Spanish people taking their afternoon stroll if this was the Puente de Segovia. Two of them said yes and the third said there was a viaducto up ahead. Then they talked amongst themselves (in Spanish): "She wants the bridge. Yes, but she's probably thinking of the viaduct because the bridge isn't very impressive. Yes, but she said 'bridge'." I understood everything they said and checked to make sure I got the directions to the impressive viaduct. Straight ahead, two of them raised their arms to a 90 degree angle for the national "straight ahead" gesture. Pretty easy. I thanked them and continued ahead.
But first I turned right to get a better look at the bridge from the side. It felt like catching the movie star you have a crush on in a housecoat and curlers... I passed a couple of little, tiny improvised homes and saw more mattresses, realizing there was a community here. The view of the bridge was no better and I was uncomfortable with my camera in hand. I didn't want them to think I intended to photograph them. I put it in my pocket and headed back up the street, trying not to stick out anymore than I was.
Past the park with the bocci ball players, and the dog walkers, and the people on benches enjoying the afternoon. I saw climbers on the wall Tameka had mentioned earlier.
I realized I must be near the Palace. I hadn't put those two together. Suddenly, there it was, the viaducto. This was what I'd seen in the April pop guide madrid beneath which was a description of the Segovia Bridge. No wonder I was confused! I just reread it and it says, "El Puente de Segovia is the oldest bridge in Madrid. Ordered by King Felipe II, it was constructed by the architect Juan de Herrera..." and they have a picture of the viaduct - hmmm.
I enjoyed the view of the arches, and the gorgeous greenery. More mattresses under the viaduct, a man had just arrived with two single mattresses and was setting them up. It is really cold right now and I just tried not to think about the bone-chilling nights they spend.
I crossed Calle de Segovia and made my way to the top of the viaduct and Calle de Bailén.
At the top a quaint outdoor bar awaited me with a hot cafe con leche and a gorgeous view of the sunset miles and miles away.
The perfect ribbon on the gift of the day.
Since writing this I have heard that the river's been dried up because there are plans to clean and improve it. I'm so happy to know this. I'm not sure where they are in these plans but here's a site with more info.
- Night shot of bridge - it's "headshot", if you will. The photo is not mine, but was an inspiration.