So having viewed the wonderful aqueduct from every conceivable angle we ventured off to the cathedral.
€7 bought us an entrance ticket to the main building itself and a timed tour of the 90 metre high bell tower. Mrs Wilbur opted not to climb the 200+ steps to the summit so that would be for our friend Chris and I to do later.
The Cathedral dedicated to Virgin Mary is the latest completed Gothic version in Spain and a very fine example it is too. Construction started in 1525 and the cathedral was finally consecrated in 1768
Beautiful vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows as is the norm at all the best cathedrals and a fabulous cloisters too. We ambled around for a good hour until it was time to get a little physical.
Chris and I were led to the back of the sacred building and through a metal gate. There were seven of us plus the guide and it soon became clear that we were the only non-Spanish speakers there. The tour was conducted entirely in Spanish, not that we minded much as we were only there for the view.
We were spoken at for what seemed an age on the ground, so feigned understanding/interest by nodding now and again whenever the guide made eye contact.
After fifteen minutes of interesting/useless information we were let off the leash. Up we went the first flight of 80 odd stone steps and stepped into a barren room for we did not know what.
It soon became clear that we were to be ‘treated’ to an informative film show, narrated by a hologram of chief architect Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón about the building of the great cathedral. The lights were dimmed, the guide stopped talking for the first time since we had met her and Rodrigo piped up.
Thankfully there were English subtitles so we at least understood the story being told. As interesting as I am sure it was, I just wanted to get to the top and philistine like I paid little attention to the commentary that explained how the tons of materials for building were gathered and the many thousands of man hours expended in the construction.
After twenty minutes or so the show was over. We were not however free yet as there was a question and answer session. One guy enthusiastically asked a series of questions whilst the rest of us itched to continue upwards as soon as possible.
We had our wish eight minutes later and were soon trudging heavy-footed up the twisting steps to what we found out to be the penultimate level where cathedral caretakers and their families lived. The quarters were unfurnished so that it took a fair amount of imagination to visualise the area as living quarters.
We were ‘guided’ for ten minutes, but thankfully the Q&A drew a blank this time so we were promptly on our way up the last flight of steps to the bell tower. This is what we had come for so happily ignored the incomprehensible guide and just wandered about taking in the spectacular views of the mountains, rooftops of the old town, the alcazar and of course the aqueduct.
We also saw the impressive huge bells close up, but resisted the urge to give them a ring and used them as foreground to some photos instead.
The guide wittered on for ages. She must of thought we were either rude, ignorant, stupid or foreign, or possibly all four! This however gave us ample time to take it all in and store the scenery into the memory bank.
The time came for the decent so we clip-clopped down the entire stone staircase with thankfully no commentary stops on the way down.
We were soon back outside in the sunshine to reunite with Mrs Wilbur and drink a well earned beer after all that step aerobics and ninety minutes of overly enthusiastic Spanish. The gratis pieces of crispy suckling pig went down a treat too!
It was all well worth the effort – a must do activity if you ever visit the lovely city.