Dr. Hoffer's Travel Site This site was last updated 08/04/10
IBERIA2001 #48 Salamanca: University
Chapter 48 Salamanca: University Town
Marcia drove the 43 miles to the ancient city of Cáceres (Kah-seh-rays) and into town to the main Plaza Mayor (photo). We arrived at 7 PM and Marcia's bunion was killing her so she didn't want to walk anymore so I explored the city by myself. I crossed the plaza and went up the main stairs leading into the old city. I found the old church (photo) and the white buildings of the ancient Jewish district called Barrio San Bernardino (photo).
The climbing was intense but I have to say of all the medieval towns I have walked through in Europe I really felt like I was in the Middle Ages as I walked the dark empty streets at dusk (photo) - it was a very unusual feeling of being transported back to a different time. In one plaza I looked up and saw an artist painting a picture of the church from the balcony of his atelier on the second floor. With the lights on I could see several of the sculptures in his studio. I was exhausted walking back (really) but as I reentered the plaza I looked to the sky and saw one of the most beautiful sunsets (photo) I have ever seen, it only lasted a few minutes. I joined Marcia who was reading and enjoying a Lipton ice tea (her favorite beverage here) and had a cortado before we headed out.
At 8:15, Marcia drove the 132 miles north to our destination, Salamanca, the university city. We arrived at 10:15 and checked into the Gran Hotel (photo) in the center of the city right next to Plaza Mayor. It was too late for restaurant shopping so we took the recommendation of the hotel to go across the street to El Meson and we arrived at 11:10 and left at midnight, again closing a place. We know the look of the waiters as they would like to go home to bed. We had rioja and agua and Marcia had gambas ajillo (again) while I tried something different, judas verdes which is green beans with (what else?) Iberian ham (photo). Marcia had a steak (solomillo) with fries and I had cochinillo, roast suckling pig again with onions and melon for dessert. Marcia had her favorite cava with lemon sorbet. After dinner we took a walk through the Plaza Mayor which was large, grand, and essentially empty. It was getting pretty chilly since we are back in the north of Spain again so we went back to the hotel and got to bed at 2 AM.
I woke at 6:45 with a vivid dream of having been diagnosed with an acute myocardial infarction (MI) and getting slapped into a bed with needles vividly being stuck into me everywhere. No more suckling pig for me. I got back to sleep and woke again at 11:30. We checked out of the hotel an hour later and walked to the main Cathedral to tour the inside (photos) which we did just in time because when we left they locked all the doors. It was also very huge. We saw the university buildings and Marcia bought a Salamanca University shirt. I changed in a men's room and went for my run and went down hill toward the river (Rio Tormes) and found myself crossing another Roman bridge (photo). As you can see Spain was really founded by Rome and two of its important Emperors, Trajan and Hadrian (of wall fame) were born in this area so it had a major influence in the Roman Empire. On the other side of the bridge there were very good shots of the Cathedral and the hill city as well as a church with a school yard playground that had remnants of trees painted different bright colors (photo). The Casa Lis art museum building was very nice (photo). Walking back I saw the remnants (the shell of two walls with the altar in one of them) of the church of San Polo which is being used for outdoor dining by the hotel next door (photo). I walked past the park with the memorial to Columbus and the Iglesia San Estaban (photos), which was quite huge also.
I went into the Plaza Mayor and it was much nicer in the daylight (photo). There was a cafe there which had medallions of people’s faces on the wall with excellent detail (photo) I finally got back to the restaurant where Marcia was having lunch, Meson Churrasco, and changed my clothes again. They serve the meats on a sizzling tray put in the center of the table and boy, it looked fantastic. How they can eat all this food in the late afternoon, I don't know. We went across the street to Cafe Paradiso for coffees and to relax. It is a good thing a ran earlier because at 3 PM it started raining like mad. We went back to the hotel to have them bring the car from the garage (5 miles away). I went to get a Herald Tribune and found a Cafe di Roma so I had to have a real cappuccino and read the paper while they got the car. I ran back in the rain and we got the car loaded at 3:30 to take off for our next destination, Leon farther north.
KJH Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #49
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
PHOTOS: 47Salamanca 47SalamCaceres
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