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'This imperial gesture still strode across the valley with massive grace, a hundred vistas framed by its soaring arches stepping like a mammoth among the houses '
Laurie Lee As I Walked out one Midsummer's Morning (1969) (on the aqueduct at Segovia)
Excursions from the City
Within a short drive or train ride from Madrid are some of the finest medieval towns in Europe. Toledo is not only the city of El Greco, but once boasted three distinct cultures; the pride of Alcalá de Henares was its great university; Segovia is dominated by a magnificent Roman aqueduct and the jewel of Aranjuez is its royal palace. Since these towns are crowded with visitors during the holiday season, their rich blends of art and architecture, alleyways and hidden squares are best enjoyed in the evening or in the early morning. Do consider staying overnight.Also within the Comunidad (autonomous community) of Madrid are the Sierra de Guadarrama to the north of the city. Dotted with small towns and villages, the mountains offer cool relief in summer, while in winter they are a popular destination for skiers.