Catching an afternoon train from Logroño, I pulled into Salamanca late in the evening. It was already dark, and it seemed a bit far to walk on my own at this time, so I jumped in a taxi and was dropped at the hotel door. This had been a last minute booking, and although the hotel name matched my booking, I certainly hadn’t paid enough to be staying somewhere so fancy.
Turns out that yes, I was at this hotel, but my room was accessed via the ‘side entrance’. Aka, the cheaper, more run down version of the fancy hotel. Not a problem, it was still a nice room, although the corridor had those lights that only come on in sections as you walk down the corridor, which was freaky as anything. Quickly dropping my stuff off in my room, I was straight out to grab a bite for dinner, and very grateful that it’s normal in Spain to eat dinner so late. After a speedy tour of the stunning Plaza Mayor, I picked up a quick meal and turned in for the night.
My first morning in Salamanca was very lazy. I took my time getting ready, looked online to find what there was to see and do here and then ventured out to get exploring. The hotel is one street from Plaza Mayor, so that was of course the first stop. As with many plaza mayors, there are several entrances, so I picked one to take a wander down, before looping around and somehow continually finding myself back in the square to then take another street.
Plaza Mayor is pretty in the day, and an impressive expanse of space that is considered by many to be the best plaza mayor in all of Spain. The sandy stone is warm and gorgeous, and I couldn’t wait to come back in the evening and soak up the atmosphere more than I had the previous evening when I’d just passed through. Heading off down Rua Mayor, Casa de las Conchas appeared to the side. Shells cover the exterior of the building, and it’s really pretty to see. I wasn’t so bothered about going inside, so carried on down the street to visit the cathedral.
It was a Sunday, which often means church services, and I didn’t want to risk getting caught in one so decided to save the cathedrals – yes, plural – for the next day. Instead, it seemed the perfect time to grab a coffee and bite to eat for lunch. More wandering ensued, with me venturing in a new direction past the hotel and towards what seemed to be a very quiet, residential area. Nipping to the supermarket to grab some snacks, I then had a wild hour of…laundry. Wild.
As the sun began to dip, the golden stone really glows, and I hurried to the river to catch the cathedrals lit up in the setting sunlight. I’d obviously been having too much fun sorting my clothes as by the time I got to the river, the golden hour sunlight had passed. Trekking back up the hill, I grabbed some dinner and made a note to go back earlier the next evening.
Turns out there really isn’t a huge amount to see in Salamanca, so after a lazy morning the next day I ventured to the nearby Plaza Mayor to grab a coffee and croissant to start the day. Mercado Central de Salamanca, just next to Plaza Mayor, was next on the to-see list. I can never resist a market, and even though a lot of the stalls are often the same, I still love wandering around and seeing what’s for sale. Salamanca market is set out on two floors, and sadly many of the stalls were closed and there weren’t a lot of people milling about. I had a very quick tour of the lower floor before heading up to the light and airy upper floor. There, about half of the stalls were open selling the traditional market goods. As I passed the fresh meat stall, I spotted a ball of something that looked interesting, but as I neared the smell made me feel so nauseous.
I couldn’t shake the feeling as I carried on walking around, so I went back to the hotel for a lay down and to google what I’d seen. Turned out to be a ball of intestines. Delightfully deep fried.
Determined not to lose my day to a ball of intestines, it was cathedral time! I took a different route than the previous day, passing through a small garden area with outdoor workout equipment. It’s lucky there was no-one there, as I would have probably ended up in a Youtube fails video with my attempt at some of the machines. Moving on before there was an accident, I had a quick look in Palacio de la Salina before stumbling upon Convento de San Esteban with its stunning facade. It’s a building worthy of admiration, so I stopped to take some photos before a questionable looking man appeared and I hurried off to make my way through the maze of streets to the cathedrals.
Salamanca is lucky in that it has not one, but two cathedrals. It’s not unusual that a new cathedral be built, but the old one is usually demolished. In this case, they built one of the walls of the new cathedral leaning on a wall of the old cathedral. They couldn’t knock it down and instead just reinforced the old cathedral, built the bell tower on it and now visitors get to enjoy two cathedrals for the price of one. As someone who seems to spend a lot of time admiring churches, I stayed for a while to admire both cathedrals.
The facade of the cathedral is a draw for many people, and you could easily spend a while there soaking up all the detail. There’s even an astronaut on there! The area surrounding the cathedral is home to some university buildings, which are all in the same sandy colour stone that is just so pretty.
As golden hour approached, I made my way to the Roman Bridge to make sure I didn’t miss it again. I had some time to reflect on my stay in Salamanca, and although there wasn’t a huge amount to see or do, I’d really enjoyed the city. There’s something about a stunning sunset over a city that just glows that can make you fall in love with it. I was glad that I’d managed to catch the sunset, and as I walked through the city back to the hotel, everything had the same glow in the last light of the day. Absolutely perfect for my last night in the city.
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