Perfecting the Art of People Watching in Salamanca

While we were living the dream in Madrid, we decided to take a day trip to Salamanca.  It is located 2 and a half hours outside of Madrid.  The whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The University of Salamanca is located here, which was founded in 1218, is the oldest university in Spain and the third oldest western university.

Just like most of the other cities here in Spain, the Roman were the first to really settle the city in the 3 Century B.C.  After that that the area changed hands until the Christians finally gained control of the area.

The Roman bridge that led to that the Roman Road:  Vía de la Plata which went all the way up to the North of Spain.

The Roman bridge that led to that the Roman Road: Vía de la Plata which went all the way up to the North of Spain.

The most important year in Salamanca history is 1218, when King Alfonso IX of León granted a royal charter to the University of Salamanca, although formal teaching had existed at least since 1130. Soon it became one of the most significant and prestigious academic centres in Europe.  Today the university is one of the primary incomes for the city.

That’s a enough history for now.  Time to see all the activities I have done!

Our first stop was the La Casa de Conchas.  It was built in the 15th century, by Rodrigo Arias de Maldonado, a knight of the Order of Santiago de Compostela and a professor in the University of Salamanca.  It gets its name form the 300 some shells (conchas) that cover the front.  The shells are a symbol of the Order that Maldonado was apart of.  Today the palace is used as a public library.

La casa de Conchas.

La casa de Conchas.

Inside la Casa de Conchas.  If you look real hard, I am in the picture.  Behind the Palace is the La Clerecia.

Inside la Casa de Conchas. If you look real hard, I am in the picture. Behind the Palace is La Clerecia.

Next we headed to La Clerecía, which is now the home for Pontifical University.  Building started in 1617 and was completed 150 years later as the Colegio Real del Espíritu Santo, of the Society of Jesus (AKA a group of Jesuits).

The  Old Cathedral of Salamanca behind me from one of the two towers of La Clerecía.

The Old Cathedral of Salamanca behind me from one of the two towers of La Clerecía.

The view of Salamanca from the two towers.

The view of Salamanca from the two towers.

In Salamanca there are two cathedrals:  La Cathedral Nueva y la Cathedral vieja (The new Cathedral and the old Cathedral).  Surprisingly it is not two separate churches, but the new Cathedral was just built, during the 16th and 18th centuries, connected to the Old part.  The Old Cathedral was built in the 12th century.  We visited the new Cathedral part, and since we was the Saturday before Palm Sunday and the weekend before Easter (AKA Semana Santa) the cathedral was the place to be.  On Saturday there were times were people could come to cathedral and kiss the Virgin (La Virgin) in the cathedral (Que dramatico).  Also the paseos (the giant floats with saints on top that are paraded around for Semana Santa) were on display, so it was very interesting.

Of course the Cathedral is being restored.

Of course the Cathedral is being restored.

One of the many Paseos that are used in processions during Semana Santa.  All of them are different and all are very sacred.

One of the many Paseos that are used in processions during Semana Santa. All of them are different and all are very sacred.

This is the cieling of the Dome of the cathedral.  It is one of the most impressive ones I have seen (trust me, I have seen plenty).

This is the cieling of the Dome of the cathedral. It is one of the most impressive ones I have seen (trust me, I have seen plenty).

We met this sweet nun on our way out of the Cathedral.  She proceeded to tell us how we needed to go kiss the Virgin.

We met this sweet nun on our way out of the Cathedral. She proceeded to tell us how we needed to go kiss the Virgin.

When we needed a lunch break, we headed to the Plaza Mayor for some food.  This was built for the use of the people, just like the one in Madrid.

Plaza Mayor.  Where we took advantage of our people watching skills.

Plaza Mayor. Where we took advantage of our people watching skills.

The group again!

The group again!

Here are some great observations from our time in the Plaza.

Prime people watching.

Prime people watching.  See the ladies in the center of the pic.  Rocking their REAL fur cokes and looking fab.

These pastries were AMAZE BALLS.  It was filled with tomato sauce, chorizo, and other meats.

These pastries were AMAZE BALLS. It was filled with tomato sauce, chorizo, and other meats.

This is my new dog I tried to buy for 20 euros.

This is my new dog I tried to buy for 20 euros.

Literally there are little paseos all over the stores and restaurants.

Literally there are little paseos all over the stores and restaurants.

This is the perfect example of how babies travel in style here in Spain.  They are dressed to the 9's and are zipped into this nugget blanket things.

This is the perfect example of how babies travel in style here in Spain. They are dressed to the 9’s and are zipped into this nugget blanket things.

Peek-a-Boo I see you.

Peek-a-Boo I see you.

We spent a whole day in Salamanca, and then returned to Madrid!  It was a great day trip, and it was great experiencing what I believe is “real” Spain.

Up next Toledo!

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