Monday, January 11, 2010

I fell in love....

with Salamanca....

I envy the students in Salamanca. Not only do they get to study in one of the oldest Universities in Europe but they get to have a coffee in the Plaza Mayor, the most beautiful city square in Europe. They can stroll through the Plaza Anaya while discussing lectures and exams, they have the Casa la Conches as their library, they can walk up to the top of the Cathedral of Santa Maria on a summer afternoon to enjoy a view of the city or have a drink with their friends on the Roman Bridge.......its true that one always cherishes student life but student life in Salamanca, I guess, would be unbelievable for a lot of other reasons too !

It was drizzling when we were in Salamanca and even with that rain, I was awestruck seeing the Plaza Mayor (completed in 1755). It was one of those times I regretted not having the expertise to take a panoramic photo. I did use the ''stitch'' option in my camera to create one but it didn't come out as well as I expected. Still, I kept walking to and fro, trying to take in all the beauty.

This is where all the life of the city can be seen. If you look at the map, all roads lead to the Plaza Mayor. We walked into a cafe for some regular Spanish breakfast - churros con chocolate (you dunk bread sticks in thick rich chocolate) and coffee, while I ordered hot water for my green tea :D (Ashok said un thollai thangala, everytime I did that :D) !

I loved the Cathedral (from the 12th century) not only for its architecture but also for the tourist-friendly design that allowed visitors to explore every part of it, something I have never before seen in any other Cathedral in Europe. There are steps that give access not only to the top but also allows visitors to view the inside of the church in great detail. The altarpiece, from the 15th century, was magnificent and is considered one of the most important art works in Spain. It has 53 panels depicting the life of Christ.

The monastery of San Esteban was the next on our list and I really liked the courtyard with its orange trees and walkway of arches.

Then we walked around the University of Salamanca (its everywhere by the way) and finally concluded our visit by walking across the Roman bridge (is supposed to be from 1st century AD). The best way to explore the whole place is on foot and the visit should last until the night where all these monuments under the dark blue moonlight sky, look even more astounding.

There are many more places to see, one can probably spend a whole week here, looking at each one of them, understanding the history and walking through time to see all these things take shape and form.

It made us feel that we should move to Salamanca, take Spanish lessons and while Ashok nourished his love for history, I could take up flamenco lessons. And then, reality hit us....families, responsibilities and all the rest of it.....oh..well...it was nice for as long as it lasted......
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