Saturday we had the opportunity to go to Salamanca for the afternoon and the night. A student tourism company, European Vibe, that Mikey’s roommate Katrina works for, is located just a few doors down from my apartment. In fact, it actually has the same address, which I know doesn’t make any sense… Welcome to Spain. Anyway, they had a 32-euro trip to Salamanca for the afternoon and night, so a bunch of friends and I decided to take advantage of it.
The bus left Plaza de Espana around 2pm, and we got to Salamanca just around 5pm. The traditional Spanish city is located just north west of Madrid, and is fairly popular with regard to tourism but is especially popular with American study abroad programs, for one reason or another.
I’m not sure if I spoke about this before, but Lucia and Lauriane were lucky enough to get a Spanish city guide made for them by one of their Spanish professors. It’s really great, and I definitely plan on making a copy of it. It has historic sites, restaurants, and bars to go to in most of the major day or weekend trip cities around Madrid, as well as traditional foods, drinks, and desserts to try while there. We used it when we were in Toledo a few weeks ago and again here in Salamanca; it was extremely helpful!
We had four or five hours free after we got to Salamanca, so we took this time to hit most of the places of interest in Lucia’s guide.
- Catedral Nueva and Catedral Viejo (the new and old cathedrals),which are connected in the interior though we couldn’t figure out where they began and ended.
- La Universidad, which is the oldest university in all of Spain, and one of the oldest in Europe (from the seventh century). There is a little frog hidden in the architecture work on the front of the main building, which is literally impossible to find. We had someone help us and we took a photo, but I won’t put it up in case you’d like to look for yourself someday! Fun fact: this is why a frog is the symbol of Salamanca.
- Convento de las Dueñas, where the nuns sell all sorts of sweets and cookies, of all different flavors to support their convenent. They come in two different sized boxes, so webought three or four small boxes of a few different kinds so that we could each try them all. My favorite was a hazlenut biscuit-type cookie covered in powdered sugar that crumbled atevery bite!
- The lower and upper school plazas close to the university were also very beautiful. Liz actually stumbled upon them unknowingly before we even saw they were on the list from Lucia’s professor.
- Plaza Monterrey, where we sat to have a drinkand wait for the city lights to come on,which was not as exciting as it sounds nor as I anticipated it would be.
- Puente Romano, a bridge built by the Romans in the first century (seriously, so old!!!), which is the only bridge in Salamanca that doesn’t allow cars!
- Plaza Mayor, which was absolutely beautiful with all the lights on at night. We sat at Café Real (from the list… yay for recommendations)for some tapas before meeting up with the rest of the group. Sidenote: in case you were wondering, we came to the conclusion that there is mostdefinitely a Plaza Mayor in every city in Spain… and they may or may not all look exactly the same).
Anyway, we met up with the group at 10 and went to three different bars/clubs right around the main city center. It was fun, but we were all tired from walking around the city all day. As well, there were over 100 people on the trip with us, so at most of the places there was no one but the tour group there. We got back on the bus around 3am and back to Madrid about 6:30am, just in time to catch the first Metro home.
I’m definitely glad we went on the trip, but it was a very long day. Dan and I decided that we generally prefer either an entire day trip where you head home around or after dinner or an overnight/weekend trip where at least you have a place to refresh and relax for a bit in between your daytime and nighttime activities.
Hasta luego, amores:)