Friday, October 10, 2014

'Thinking' in Salamanca

It’s official - the autumn has arrived to the city. While some people use the New Year’s Eve as a time for reflexion, I get the same feeling with autumn, the smell of fallen leaves, foggy mornings and chestnuts lying on the ground (although the chestnuts were actually in Segovia which I visited this past weekend). 

Some people can think anytime anywhere; for me it’s a process that requires a certain mood, place and a correct ambiance such as a nice city park or a random rock in the mountains. Now, I am not saying I need to go to the mountains every time I need to make a decision (I can buy a croissant without having to leave the bakery) but when it comes to understanding the ‘meaning of life’ I need some peace and quiet. In the past few days I’ve been searching for some places very ‘intensely’ and I would like to share my two favourites: El Campo de San Francisco and El Huerto de Calixto y Melibea. 

‘El Parque de San Francisco’ (as the locals call it) is located in the very centre of Salamanca. According to public records, ‘El Campo de San Francisco’ (as the authorities call it) is the first public garden in Salamanca, standing on the grounds of the former convent of San Francisco el Real y los Padres Capuchinos. The park has a certain ambiance to it (to be honest, the entire historical centre of Salamanca has one), but maybe that’s one of the reasons why Miguel de Unamuno, the famous Spanish writer and rector of the university, found it dear to its heart and was known to stroll around (if you would like to know more about the writer's life you can have a look at this previous post). I took his example and you can see me doing the same (although I doubt anybody cares) while I enjoy the falling leaves of its vegetation - including 600 poplars planted back in 1828.

You can also see me walking around the beautiful Huerto de Calixto y Melibea. I mentioned this garden in my previous post although back then I had no idea what it was called or that it was connected to the famous novel La Celestina by Fernando de Rojas. If you would like to know more about the history of this place you can read about it here

To be honest, although I find the (potential) history of the garden quite interesting, it is not the reason why I enjoy going there almost every day. It lies on the city walls and the view of the cathedrals is simply splendid. It feels slightly secluded so if you like some peace and quiet this is the place for you. However, since it is no secret (unfortunately) other people go there too and if they are in an overly socialising mood you don´t really stand a chance and you will have to go for a walk somewhere else (but I’ve been so ‘unlucky’ only once). 

On the other hand, Salamanca is a city made for walking. Actually, mostly its historical city centre is made for walking. When you want to avoid ‘the youth’ you can always walk towards and across Puente Romano and/or walk along the river and just enjoy the view.

Overall, for a person who enjoys walking along the historical monuments on a daily basis Salamanca is the place to be :) After all, even Friedrich Nietzsche said that “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking”. So, ¡hasta luego!, I need to go for a walk...

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