Mi Viaje a España y Portugal 2005 travel blog

Plaza Mayor in Salamanca

view of old town and cathedral

view across the roman bridge



statue of Jesus in Cathedral

I arrived in Salamanca late Thanksgiving night, right before midnight, after a long day of travelling. I had taken the bus from Coimbra to Nazare and back, arriving in just enough time to catch my train for Salamanca. It was an older train, the kind with 6-seats per compartment, and rode the first hour with a group of 4 middle-aged, drunk, Portuguese men. They were pretty funny, but hard to understand as they didn't speak any English and my Portuguese is limited at best. Besides, they were slurring their words and making a lot of jokes, which of course went over my head. The rest of the trip I had the whole compartemnt to myself and was able to stretch out and read.

When I got to Salamanca, it was late and freezing cold. There weren't any taxi's outside the train station, so I walked the half an hour to the center of town where my hotel was. At first it felt good to be walking after sitting so long in the train, but after about 15 min. my hands and face were numb and I had to dig my sweater out of my bag. I had made reservations at one of my guidebooks recommended hotels, requesting a larger room with bathroom, but when I got the owner didn't seem to have my reservation (even though I had talked to him personally twice on the phone, even giving him my credit card to hold it). All he had was one tiny room which was more like a large closet. There were no windows and a TINY bed that looked like it was for a kid. I took one look at it and said 'your kidding, right? there's no way I'am going to fit in that bed' he just shrugged and said it was all he had. Since it was late and I was beat, I told him I'd stay the night. Then his memory seemed to miraculously return and he said 'but you want it for 3 nights, no?' I told him 'No, I'll look for another hotel in the morning', and then he got mad and told me that all the hotels in town were full (which I knew wasn't true), but I told him I'd take my chances. The next morning I found another hotel a block away, no problem. It's a little more expensive, but well worth it to have my own bathroom and a big bed (not to mention a window).

Salamanca is a very beautiful city, with many of the buildings made of sandstone, including the Plaza Mayor, one of the largest and nicest plaza's I have ever seen. It feels very much like a college town, with a lot of students everywhere. They party here ALL night long. I could hear them shouting, laughing and singing until about 7 am. It feels like I am sleeping on Fraternity row. Oh well, kids will be kids.

Yesterday started out clear and sunny, and I spent the whole day exploring the city. I walked around the center of the old town and through the university, and stopped for a lunch of tapas at a great little restuarant near the plaza mayor, great food and very cheap. When I came out of the restuarant, the clouds started coming in and about half an hour later, it began to snow. It didn't last long, but the news says there may be a storm tonight with either freezing rain or snow. brrrr.

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