After such a wonderful weekend in Lisbon, I was sad to leave Portugal but I was also looking forward to getting back in Spain. While in Granada, it’s easy to focus on how much farther I have to go with my Spanish, and sometimes feel like the language barrier is a mile wide. However, after spending even a few days in a country where I could pretty much only fumble through ordering in a restaurant, I realize that this is a little bit dramatic because I can’t wait to actually be able to communicate again! It’s a funny little perspective that cheers me up.
After a long drive, I arrived in Salamanca sleepy and hungry. As it was a Monday night after Semana Santa, the hostel was pretty quiet but there were a few leftovers who were happy for some company, so I obliged and went out for some tapas hopping with them until it was socially acceptable to bow out. I actually felt a little bit guilty because the next day I not-so-gracefully blew them off for some peace and quiet as I toured the city solo. However, I can’t even begin to describe what a good choice this was because I had one of the most wonderful days.
The city of Salamanca is pretty small, with its main attraction being the Plaza Mayor, one of the grandest plazas in Spain. A cool cathedral, the oldest Spanish university, and a few pieces of Roman architecture make up the rest of the attractions, and an abundance of jamón and Rioja wine complete a wonderfully Spanish atmosphere.
I spent the morning seeing the sights, and covered most of the city by lunchtime, at which point I wandered up towards the Plaza. After lunch at one restaurant in the Plaza, I skipped to a café a few spots down for coffee and desert. After passing an hour or so there reading, I simply followed the sun around the Plaza. Enjoying the outdoor tables sipping of cañas, munching on tapas, and alternating between reading and people-watching was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Although it may not sound like much, the Plaza is a constant flow of people and life, an outdoor living room for the entire city. Students, old friends, couples, dog-walkers: everyone enjoys through the plaza. Some stop for ice cream, some for a cerveza, many simply plop down in the middle with a group of friends or a sketch pad. I spent hours there, simply enjoying the fact that this is a perfectly acceptable way to spend an afternoon in Spain and the charm of it all.