Thursday, December 4, 2014

Being on a clock in Salamanca: 36 hours in the city

Some people think that being a tourist is a very relaxed activity and for some it actually may be. However, if you want to see ‘all there is to see’ and you only have a limited period of time, sightseeing might become a race and thus almost a sport in its own right. Do not be fooled, walking around and up and down the city (depends on what city you are visiting) is no easy task. A friend of mine came to visit me this weekend and unfortunately she could only stay a day and a half. Salamanca has a lot of things to offer, more than you can visit in 36 hours (unless you want to be sightseeing from 8am to 10pm without stopping for food).  The 2 things you simply must visit are the Cathedrals as well as Plaza Mayor. However, visiting these two doesn't mean that you've seen it all, it simply means that you won’t be chased by ghosts when leaving the city. 

I prepared a small ‘plan’ of basic things that in my opinion should be on anyone’s list. I didn't want her to feel overwhelmed, after all, she came here to relax and not to run around trying to do it all. The places I suggested were: Ieronimus, Scala Coeli and El Huerto de Calixto y Melibea (if you'd like more information about this garden have a look at our earlier article here).

Ieronimus is a permanent exhibition through the medieval towers of the Old and New Cathedrals where you can become familiar with their construction and history as well as with the interior of the cathedrals as seen from the inner platform. Also worth mentioning are the amazing views you can enjoy from the surrounding terraces and the towers themselves. 

Another exhibition, Scala Coeli, invites you to discover the two towers belonging to the ‘Clerecia’, a building directly opposite to ‘La Casa de las Conchas’ (The House of Shells). The view from the towers is breath-taking and you can see the New Cathedral from a slightly different perspective than you are used to. You will also get to see one side of Plaza Mayor which you are not accustomed to (you might not even realise it is Plaza Mayor at first). 

And as you might be a little bit exhausted after climbing all of the stairs (although it’s totally worth it), you might want to go have a look at Casa Lis, a Museum Art Nouveau and Art Déco, where you can see some interesting collections of glass and porcelain dolls and have a coffee at a quite unusual and charming café. And if you are only in town visiting there’s a well-stocked gift shop which has a different assortment than the rest of the tourist shops.

Although it is nice to explore the city by wandering around, sometimes it is just not possible and then you need to have a ‘plan’ or at least a doable list of things you would like to see and activities you’d like to do. I think that if you only have a limited time to spend in Salamanca then these things should be on your list. However, most importantly, do not forget to enjoy your time (relax) and feel Salamanca’s atmosphere. After all, that’s what travelling is about. 

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