Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Taste of Salamanca

With medieval fairytale streets, numerous cultural offerings, and abundant nightlife, Salamanca provides a rich blend of old and new. The University of Salamanca, founded in 1218 by King Alfonso IX, is the oldest in Spain and draws students from all over the world. It is easy to get around on foot; there are also buses, and taxis are very affordable. Salamanca is around 2 hours from Madrid by train, and a good leaping-off point for visiting nearby Avila, Segovia, or Portugal.

Salamanca is an ideal place to study Spanish; it is the capital of Castile and León, the region where the original castellano developed. The local accent is easier to understand than other accents in Spain (for example, the Andalusian accent). 
Tía Tula Spanish School is right in the heart of the city, with small classes and years of experience teaching foreign students. The teachers are professional and friendly, there are a number of levels to suit students´ needs, and the school arranges a variety of living accommodations, as well as activities and trips.

If it´s your first time in Salamanca, I would recommend visiting the university, as well as the Catedral Vieja (Old Cathedral), Plaza Mayor, Casa de las Conchas (House of the Seashells), and the Puente Romano (Roman bridge). These landmarks, with their enchanting architecture, will give you a sense of the city´s ancient feel.

After you´ve walked around, you might be tired and ready for a bite to eat. Spaniards take siesta time seriously. Shops normally close between 2pm and 5pm, during which people eat lunch and take a break from the day. I highly suggest trying tapas, which are small appetizers that allow you to try different kinds of food without feeling overly stuffed. Typical examples include patatas bravas or croquetas

In terms of weather, Salamanca can be very cold in winter and extremely hot in summer, so be sure to bring proper clothing. That said, if you forgot something at home, check out the weekly Sunday flea market, called El Rastro (located at the local fairgrounds), where you can find a variety of low-cost items.

These are the things I experienced my first time in Salamanca, and I liked it so much that I came back again! I hope to get to know the city better this time, and to discover even more of its delightful secrets, which are waiting if you keep your eyes open.

By Emily, student in Spring 2016

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