Salamanca, Oh Salamanca!

Well, I’m posting a little less promptly than I would have liked due to some technical difficulties (wordpress wouldn’t let me upload photos, boo!), but it’s more prompt than usual. I’m getting better at this, don’t you think? On to the update!

Last Friday I joined the USAC crew as we visited Salamanca, a city about two-point-five hours northwest of Madrid. Salamanca a beautiful city that is constructed with sandstone, which makes it a very warm and welcoming city to behold. Despite the two cups of coffee I drank to ensure my liveliness over the course of the day, I still managed to nap on the bus ride there, which made me nice and chipper for the majority of the morning. Unfortunately, I was off in my own little world the entire trip, and spent the entire time taking photos and soaking in the architecture, art, and natural beauty of the city instead of listening to our knowledgeable tour guides. Ah well, I had my priorities.

Our first stop in the city was the cathedral, which was separated into two sections: the “old” (Roman) and “new” (Gothic). I found the cathedral a lot more interesting than the other Spanish cathedrals I have visited for that fact; however, the Gothic style of the “new” section was reminiscent of every cathedral I have stepped foot into from the layout to the stained glass windows. It was fantastic to see it being utilized by the people outside of tourist visits, though – our group was privileged to witness a small rehearsal of a string quartet and a beautiful singer.

The facade of Salamanca's "new" cathedral
The facade of Salamanca’s “new” cathedral
An astronaut had been carved into the facade [during a renovation of the cathedral]. Neato!
An astronaut had been carved into the facade [during a renovation of the cathedral]. Neato!
Proof that these old cathedrals aren't just for show: prayers to the Virgin.
Proof that these old cathedrals aren’t just for show: prayers to the Virgin in the “new” cathedral.

After we left the cathedral, we stopped by la Casa de las Conchas (“House of Shells”) to view the exterior and hear a little history about it’s origins. Apparently the house was a wedding gift from Rodrigo Arias de Maldonado, a knight of the order of Santiago, to his wife. Today, the house contains Salamanca’s public library.

La casa de las conchas
The shells are said to allude to the order of Santiago, as the scallop shell is traditionally associated with St James-Santiago.

After we left la Casa de las Conchas, we made our way to Plaza Mayor, where we parted ways for lunch and some free time. I spent those few hours enjoying a meal with two lovely ladies from my program, and then wandered around for the remainder of the time. When we came back together, we left the Plaza to visit the university, the Garden of Calixto and Melibea, and the Roman bridge before making our way back to the bus and heading home. Unfortunately, this is the point where I really started doing my own thing, so I won’t be able to share much historical information with you all. You can still enjoy the photos, though!

The exterior of Salamanca's university. Here is where you would exit if you passed your exams.
The exterior of Salamanca’s university. Here is where you would exit if you passed your exams.
It is said if you can find the lucky frog in the facade of the university, you will have no trouble passing your exams. Can you find it?
It is said if you can find the lucky frog in the facade of the university, you will have no trouble passing your exams. Can you find it?
The Garden of Calixto and Melibea. Consider this pair a Spanish Romeo and Juliet - this is the garden where the star-cross'd lovers would secretly meet until they tragically met their end.
The Garden of Calixto and Melibea. Consider this pair the Spanish version of Romeo and Juliet – this is the garden where the star-cross’d lovers would meet until they tragically met their end.
Many couples come to this garden to confess their everlasting love to one another. The centerpiece is the fountain, covered in locks signifying the love the couples share.
Many couples come to this garden to confess their everlasting love to one another. The centerpiece is the fountain, covered in locks signifying the love the couples share.

That’s all for now! I’ll be posting again soon, as I will be taking a small vacation from the city with my t-oigo family over the next couple days. Until then!

xo –

Advertisements

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s