There is a saying in Spain that says “cuando en Marzo mayea, en Mayo marcea”…Which means that when we have the May’s weather in March, we will have the March’s weather in May. Having said that and looking at the May’s weather now in March, we had some quick breakfast at home before heading the road from Madrid to Salamanca to spend the weekend in this UNESCO World Heritage City.
Our trip started at 13:00, after driving two and a half hours from Madrid.
We probably did what most of the tourists do, have lunch in Plaza Mayor (the main square), but no regrets, it was good and cheap, although the service could improve, but sadly that is common in Spain (sorry, I love this country, but in general this is true).
- Plaza Mayor, the heart of Salamanca and a movie location of “Vantage Point”
- Passed by the Clavero Tower
- Visited the Salina Palace
- Pontifical University and the La Clerecía Church; including the towers of the Clerecía (3.75 euros)
- Casa de las conchas, that was being renovated and sadly we could see all its facade details
- We saw the Anaya Palace from the outside, which is nowadays the Faculty of Philology of the University of Salamanca
- The Old and New Cathedrals (access to the new cathedral is 4.75 euros). We identified the astronaut and Ice-cream eating Gargoyle on the facade of the new cathedral. Both are details added by the craftsmen in charge of doing some restoration work on the Cathedral in 1992. It seems it’s a regular practice of these workers to “sign” their works with some interesting details. Jerónimo García, chief restorer chose the astronaut as a symbol of the 20th century and it’s said that the gargoyle represents the students (read more here). To access the Old Cathedral you have to go trough the New Cathedral
- Cathedral’s medieval towers, including the Ieronimus exhibition (3.75 euros). My favorite of Salamanca
- Huerto de Calisto y Melibea, which is a garden chosen by Fernando de Rojas as scenario to recreate the novel “Tragicomedy of Callisto and Melibea”(published in 1502), known in Spain as La Celestina
At 18:30 we were a little tired and it was the perfect excuse to visit our hotel spa, which is small but well appreciated. The spa absorbed all our energy, so we ordered food and stayed in, reading “Dracula” for our future trip to Romania in easter.
We woke up around 8:30am in our very quite room and had our buffet breakfast at 9:30. Our plan today was to visit the few spots of the old town that we missed yesterday, and go back to Madrid as early as possible to avoid the traffic and the forecast rain. This is what we visited today:
- Salamanca University, which is the oldest in Spain and third oldest in the world. We visited some of the singular settings, such as the old library, the cloisters and the Cielo de Salamanca (Salamanca Sky), and identified the frog on the skull on the facade (called “La Puerta de Salamanca”). According to the legend, students would not graduate unless they found the frog on the main facade of the university
- Museo de Castilla y Leon (free)
- Iglesia de San Pablo (Church)
- San Esteban Convent, a Dominican church where Columbus sought favour with the Catholic Kings
- Las Dueñas Convent, with its breathtaking cloister
- The mysterious Cueva de Salamanca, where, according to legend, students studied the dark arts, fortune-telling and magic
- Passed by the Art Nouveau & Art Deco Museum
- Puente Romano (Roman Bridge)
At 12:30 we were ready to pick up our car and drive back home (Madrid).
Here is a map with the places we visited marked.
Where to sleep?
A week before our trip we booked one night in the Abba Fonseca Hotel for 85 euros. It is very well located, we were able to walk everywhere we went. Breakfast and service was also nice. Also it has a small spa (sauna, jacuzzi and steam bath) and parking (18 euros per day).
Where to eat?
We weren´t able to go to any of these restaurants. As I mentioned before, we tried in Casa Vallejo but it was fully booked, and also this weekend we weren´t really into eating. But I am pretty sure they are delicious.