Well after a minor delay in the tonsillitis recovery involving a trip to the hospital for some much stronger antibiotics, I’m finally feeling better! So much better that I was able to go on the group excursion to Salamanca & Ávila today, in our very Spanish celebration of the 4th of July.
We met at the aqueduct (like always) and boarded our bus at 9 am for the 2 hour drive to our first destination. Salamanca is in western Spain and the capital of the province of Salamanca, which is located in the autonomous community of Castile y León (same community as Segovia). Salamanca is much bigger than Segovia (more like 200,000 people), but it is equally as gorgeous! I love this city. The architecture is absolutely incredible, and the facades of all the buildings are detailed and unique. I couldn’t stop taking pictures!
Almost all of the buildings in Salamanca were constructed with this local rock that has oxidized and turned a really beautiful reddish-orange color over the years. After walking around the streets in the central part of the city for awhile, our tour guide (Elena – art professor at our school) took us to the cathedrals. Salamanca actually has two cathedrals, a Romanesque one constructed in the 12th century and a Gothic one constructed in the 16th-18th centuries. The two cathedrals come together in the left part of the below picture.
We went inside the Gothic Cathedral and explored for quite awhile – it was spectacular! You can definitely imagine why it took over 200 years to build – everything about the cathedral was incredibly intricate.
After the cathedrals, we went to the University of Salamanca, which is the oldest in Spain and one of the oldest in the Western World. We couldn’t enter any of the classrooms or libraries, but we still managed to get some good pictures from the doorways.
After spending a couple of hours touring the cathedrals and the university, we had a break for lunch and walked through Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor. Most Spanish Cities have a Plaza Mayor, but Salamanca’s is especially well-known and has been depicted in a couple of movies.
After a long lunch break we boarded up the bus again and rode to Ávila, which was about an hour away. I didn’t enjoy this town as much as Salamanca, but it was still great to see more of Spain. We didn’t visit any major attractions, but instead spent an hour or two taking a walking tour of the city and learning about its history. To me it was interesting because it was the home of Santa Teresa de Jesús, a Spanish mystic and Roman Catholic saint whose writings I have studied in my Spanish classes at DePauw.
Overall, today was a great excursion day, and I’m happy I was feeling better and able to enjoy it! I have classes Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday this week and then on Friday I’m flying off to Barcelona for the weekend! It’s a rough life 😉
Happy 4th of July!