It always makes me feel sorrow when I pass in Salamanca, going somewhere else - I only visited the city once, slept only one night, and left with the idea that I should come back with more time.
I passed there a dozen times since then, but always with a few hours to arrive somewhere. No! Salamanca deserves to have another planned visit, and I will do it!
* Oficina de Información Turística de Salamanca pic)
Rúa mayor (Casa de las Conchas)
- Tel.: (+34) 923 26 85 71
- Fax: (+34) 923 26 24 92
- E. mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Turismo y Comunicación de Salamanca, SAU
Plaza Mayor, 32-19, first floor
- Tel.: (+34) 923 27 24 08
- Fax: (+34) 923 27 24 07
- Internet: www.salamanca.es
- E. mail: email@example.com
* Oficina Municipal de Turismo
Plaza Mayor, 32-19 bajo
- Tel.: (+34) 923 21 83 42 and 902 30 20 02
- Fax: (+34) 923 21 83 42
- Internet: www.salamanca.es
- E. mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
After finding the frog on the university's gate, I thought my long searches were over. However, not shortly thereafter I was surprised to know that one of my other great searches in life was over. I had found HIM! After all my life, all my travels, all my quests, I was shown a sign. The sign quite clearly showed "JESUS".
I followed it. The sign did not say much and quickly became quiet again. I was soon at another dead-end. Back to square one, my search will continue.
The most important and atractive activity I would take someone is the Tuna, specially the tuna of the medical faculty, they not only sing well but they are also very nice. Their songs are based on the Spanish story, specially dedicated to women, so that these songs are very romantic. If anyone goes to Salamanca, please, go to the Plaza Mayor and see the tuna, though they only sing in summer time.
Fondest memory: What I miss most when I am away from Salamanca is the Tuna and its members.
My favourite thing about Salamanca is to walk in the streets, specially at night. Though there are always people at midday and at night, to walk at night gives another view of the city, with people walking and having fun, specially in the Plaza Mayor.
The streets are full of history and people, this is the reason why I really like walking in the streets of Salamanca.
Fondest memory: The tunos is the fondest memory of Salamanca. They were very nice and gentle, I felt on cloud nine when I was kissed by them because it is very Spanish to kiss the cheeks, specially men towards women. The tunos are the last romantic men in Spain this is why I felt so comfortable with them, next year I will go back to see them again.
Favorite thing: La tuna is the most romantic and beautiful thing I saw in Salamanca. It is formed by a group of men singing to women, they play in the streets of Salamanca everyday so I had the opportunity of seeing them when I was on holiday last week. They were very nice and friendly, specially towards women (they like flirting, something normal on Spanish men and women), they were very considerate and allowed me to take pictures with them, the most attractive tuna singer was Domingo, who was in fact, the leader of the group.
Salamanca is a city full of interesting places to visit, museums, cathedrals, churches, convents, etc and different things to do. The most amazing thing I have ever seen is to see the tunos sing in the Plaza Mayor, the main point in the city, where people can have a drink while seeing the tunos play their music.
I had the opportunity to hear them singing their songs, in Spanish, obviously.
The tuna has its roots in the X century, when the poor students who wanted to go to University and did not have any money, had to sing in the streets, always to women. The tuna has different sashes with different colours depending on the faculty they study at: the yellow is for the medical faculty, the green for the vet faculty, the red for the law faculty and there are many more different sashes. Apart from this, the tunos always wear a band with different meanings because these bands can represent their wives, their friends or their families, even leader of the tunos I saw in Salamanca wore a band representing the Spanish flag, all depends on the tuno's personal ideas.
Most of the tunos study at University, while some of them are professors or even more, they do not have anything to do with the University. These tunos, who are neither students nor professors,have to pay a small amount of money to be members of the tuna.
The tunos of the medical faculty of Salamanca are the best tunos in Spain, in fact, they are very famous. I saw them in Salamanca and I must admit that I fell in love with them because they not only sang very well but they were also very nice.
Fondest memory: The thing I miss most when I am away from this Spanish city is the tunos of the medical faculty because they sing very well and always sing romantic songs.
Fondest memory: This is maybe the most beautiful street in Salamanca, with all its trees and the lavender in the middle. Look at the third photo of this tip, where the foliage hides the traffic lights! It was a pleasure to have a walk there.
What I most liked in the façade of the Universidad de Salamanca was the tondo portraying King Ferdinando and Queen Elisabetha (their names are written under their bodies). Moreover, I was glad to read an inscription in Greek that says The royals to education and this one to the royals.
Anyway, even if you cannot read Greek, you can enjoy the beauty of the two sculptures and of the decorations.
Favorite thing: Salamanca is well-known for its monumental stone structures, most of which are made from stone quarried in nearby Villamayor (about 5 km outside of Salamanca). Apparently, the unique stone changes colors as the sun hits it at different angles throughout the day, although the sun was hiding from me during my stay in Salamanca, so I missed out on this spectacle.
There are a lot of cheap Hostels in Salamanca, usually right in the center. The danger is that thy are usually full during the week-ends.
I went to one in a off street, almost without passage that usually still has free rooms during the week-end.
Rooms are about 22-28 euros (double room). As I travelled alone, on a budget, I choose a one bed one and paid only 18 euros (june 2005). Well it has no window and is little but has its bathroom and television. Furthermore the hostel is very clean and quite central (Hostal Eureka, calle Serranos).
Don't just walk the same streets every time you go to town. Explore the city and let yourself get lost in it! You might end up walking in circles a few times or not being able to find your starting point, but if you're lost, just find the Plaza Mayor again and you won't be lost anymore! When you have time, walk around different parts of town. Not just downtown where all the tourists are, go to the side streets, outskirts, and residential neighbourhoods away from the Plaza Mayor. You might meet some friendly locals, stumble upon an ancient building or pretty fountain, or see a store where you'll want to buy something.
Fondest memory: In the afternoons, and on Sundays when there weren't many people around, I would go walking around different parts of the city and explore. Instead of making like a tourist and only seeing the "must-see" stuff, it's nice to explore the unknown or non-touristy local stuff in parts of town where you won't see foreigners every five seconds. Josh liked to do the same, and even blocked out entire afternoons to just lose himself in the beautiful city of Salamanca. There is beauty in the simple things, and Salamanca is proof of that.
I have seen tips on this site urging travellers to stay a night or two to see these places in their glory at night. This is certainly the case here. It is very quiet and peaceful. Having said that there is an area where the younger element congregate creating a lively atmosphere. We stayed 2 nights and enjoyed the contrasts and atmosphere.
Accommodation is of good standard and there are reasonable rates to be found.
Fondest memory: THe plaza Mayor at night is brilliant. Plenty of bars/restaurants to sit and watch the world go by.
Even with all the excitement of being in Salamanca, there are times when it's nice to just sit down at a cafe in town, have a drink and/or snack, and relax. During the day after class is a good time for this, since most shops and public places are closed for lunch. Since the city is quiet during that time of day, it's good for studying, chatting with a friend, and relaxing in general. Also, in the evenings it's nice to chill out a little and have a few drinks before going out dancing and partying.
Fondest memory: During my first trip to Salamanca, my group and I would always go to the same cafe in the Plaza Mayor, where the same friendly waiter would bring us our drinks and chat with us. We'd get some studying done and plan our adventures for the next few days. One time, we tried to get our professor to down a tequila shot, but she didn't know how to drink it so she was nervous and jittery, and she sipped it! We had a good laugh over that!
On my second trip, during the day I'd often go for a batido (milkshake) at different places in town, but one of my favorites was a cafe on Rua Mayor (I think?) near the Plaza de Anaya. I'd often have a batido or glass of sangria and a bowl of fried squid rings, and get some studying done. My professor often went there too, so the waiter there knew her and was friendly. On my birthday, she and I and Josh went to that cafe, my prof bought me a glass of sangria, and that waiter pulled my ear 21 times (since I was turning 21).
And of course, I always enjoyed sitting in the Plaza Mayor in the evenings, drinking sangria and watching my favorite tuna group put on their little show. Although they made it much more exciting than relaxing! ;)
On my first trip to Spain, a bunch of us, including my professor, went to see a bullfight in the local bullring. Bullfights are a huge part of Spanish culture, and when we went the bullring was packed. We bought tickets for the cheapest seats (the andanadas - the equivalent of the nosebleed section), which cost around 17 Euros, but we could see everything that was going on. We knew that Julian Lopez Escobar aka "El Juli" would be fighting bulls that afternoon. The biggest superstar and darling of the bullfighting world, he was only 19 at the time - and so was I! He is as talented as he is cute, and for the next few days, I mentionned my "Cutie", "Juli the Cutie", or "El Cutie" many times a day and squealed every time something reminded me of him - much to the annoyance of the rest of my group...
During the corrida, one girl in the group closed her eyes whenever something gory happened, and my prof freaked out and covered her eyes whenever the picador lanced the bull's neck, but I watched everything.
Bullfights aren't a free-for-all stabfest meant to torture animals. A good matador gets top honours if he kills the bull on the first stab - the hardest way to kill, and least painful for the bull. If there is too much blood/gore, or if the matador stabs too many times before the bull dies, the audience is not happy. I enjoyed the bullfight because of the traditional aspects - the music, the costumes, and the grace of the matador as he bravely faces a dangerous bull in a fight that has the potential to end his life.
Terminology for following section:
Matador - bullfighter
Picador - guy on a horse who lances bull's neck
Banderillo - guy who throws coloured sticks in bull's back
Fondest memory: After finding the andanadas, we sat on the stone benches. Before the bullfight even started, I'd already fallen in love with El Juli...
A nearby trumpetist got up to play a tune, and the door opened. Out came the matadors and their crew, dressed in their suits of lights, as they made their grand entrance. Aside from El Juli, there were 2 others: Paco Ojeda - older and experienced, and Javier Valverde - a 23-year old rookie who was ready to take his initiation. Each matador fought 2 bulls, 1 at a time.
The 1st bull was taken out of the ring because of its limp - a bull must be at its full strength to be fought. Javier fought the replacement bull, but didn't kill it on the first stab like a matador should so the audience didn't give him any special praise.
Paco's performances weren't anything too special in my opinion. But I was very impressed by El Juli. Instead of letting the banderilleros put the sticks in the bull's back, the audience wanted Juli to do it, both times. Juli also fought his bulls with skill and grace, and killed both on the first stab. Meanwhile I was crazy in love! "Whoo Cutie!" I yelled as the audience cheered for him. Once, as he fought his 2nd bull, the bull suddenly charged and started chasing him. My prof turned to me and said "Your Cutie has to run!" I watched him run away from that big mean bull, and yelled "Run Cutie run!"
Since Javier was going through his initiation to officially become a matador, he fought last: a huge brown bull - the biggest one. The picador lanced its neck, but went too deep and left the spear in too long, so the audience started clapping in a way to tell that picador to get out and never do it again. Javier fought the bull, but stabbed it at least 3-4 times before it died. By that time the bull was tired, in pain, and could hardly run - not good. When the bull finally died, the audience thew their seat pillows into the bullring - a way to say "You suck!" Then, the corrida ended, and we left the bullring.