Salamanca is distinguished because it has everything twice: two cathedrals, two universities, and two very different lives. Along with the usual atmosphere of a city characterized by tourism, the student atmosphere also coexists in the capital of Charra. This means that its fantastic monuments are adorned with prickly pears, unstoppable nightlife, and a kind of "open 24 hours".
The first thing a visitor to Salamanca sees is the river and, in the background, the wonderful lineage of the Cathedral, that imposes and reigns in the city. You should enjoy these views from the other side of the river (if possible from the Roman bridge) and stroll before entering the streets of a city that has managed to preserve the flavor and charm of yesteryear.
Gothic and Baroque styles predominate in its streets, where it is impossible not to notice. Plateresque adorns the yellow stone of Villamayor, cradle of stonemasons and lentils that, although not very refined, are exquisite.
The first thing to see is the cathedrals. The Old Cathedral, crowned by the Rooster Tower, in the Romanesque style and whose main altarpiece was painted in 1445 by order of Bishop Don Gonzalo Viveri, constitutes an entire experience that concludes with a visit to the annex New Cathedral. The renewed version is a cluster of Gothic, Plateresque and Neoclassical.
Salamanca is ideal for architecture lovers. But it is more than that. Very close to the cathedrals, in the Patio ChicoCasa Lis rises up. Built at the beginning of the 20th century, it stands out for its stained glass windows or the skylight in the central staircase. Lively and colorful, the Lis House has inside its collection of Art Noveau and Art Deco Manuel Ramos Andrade, which gives him a special interest. Those who are afraid of porcelain dolls, better be content with the outside.
Already wandering around again, the best option is the Rúa Mayor. At number 36 is a pastry shop always full of people, the Croissanteria Paris, who sell you any kind of croissant, Neapolitan or similar, always hot and filled on the go to suit the consumer.
From there we quickly reached company street, with the Shell House (now converted into a library), whose construction begins in the 15th century and ends in the 18th century with an extension. The motifs on the facade, shells and Lis flowers, are due to the coats of arms of Rodrigo Arias de Maldonado and María de Pimentel. It was because of their marriage bond that the house began to be built.
In front of it stands another of the city's majestic buildings, the Clergy, the clearest example of the baroque in Spain. Today, it is the church of the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca, the student center par excellence in the city, cradle of knowledge and also of beauty.
Deviating a bit, along Calle Libreros we find the famous Plateresque façade of the college. And it is not famous for its style, but because in it is the famous frog, which among skulls, flowers and all kinds of decorations, is located on the wall. Student tradition says that if you start studying and find the frog, you will be lucky in your exams.
Back on track to get closer to the Main Square, which stands majestically at the end of the Rúa Mayor, a clear prototype of a baroque square and which continues to be a meeting place as in the past. It is worth taking a break on one of the many terraces (especially during October, the time of student hazing) where, despite the relatively high cost, the visitor will be able to see, in peace, the true essence of life in the city.
Despite the fact that in the plaza itself and its surrounding streets there are many tapas bars where you can enjoy the benefits of the Salamanca pig (ribs, roasted ham, Moorish skewers, tenderloin ...), it is best to get carried away by what the inhabitants of the city and leave the historic center until we reach the street Van dyck, in whose surroundings are many tapas bars of the best of the city and cheap restaurants (which are not bad for that).
Finally, in terms of nightlife, there are many options. For the youngest, and who want to enjoy drinking and laughing on the street, the West square It is a must. If what you are looking for is a more alternative environment, where to drink beer for little price, the choice is clear: the San Justo Square (better known for the Plaza de San Costo among students). Finally, the Gran Via, from more select environments and where you can dance.
In short, a small city that never sleeps.
Day 10 - Last Night in Salamanca (August 2020)