I don’t think I mentioned it yet, but every time I’ve thought of the city of Segovia in the last few months, a certain kind of music has blasted itself triumphantly into my head.
‘Hail, hail Segovia, land of the free and brave!’
I’m not sure where exactly the music comes from, but my faulty memory wants to narrow it down to either The Princess Diaries (hail hail Genovia?), or something from the Marx Brothers. Possibly it’s a combination of the two?
In my entirely-sane-and-together head, Salamanca doesn’t have a theme song.
Which I guess is another point against Salamanca*.
(*I don’t know if you’ve heard, but they also don’t have an aqueduct).
But seriously folks.
Putting aside its general aqueductlessness, Salamanca is really the most beautiful city that you will ever visit.
It’s actually quite shocking that people go all the way to Madrid, and take the train up to Segovia, but don’t bother to just pop across to Salamanca.
You’ll be promised saphire skies and sandstone buildings.
And for all of the design-hipsters out there, I’m pretty sure that sandstone colour is as close as you can get to millennial pink without actually calling in a painter.
So Salamanca is not only very pretty, it is also very ‘in’.
The city centre itself is not huge, so we did a few laps around over the day.
This is the main square, which is superior to all other main squares because it has….
Yes well us.
Apparently the elephant is not always there.
He’s part of a temporary art exhibition that featured various works throughout the city.
Personally, if I was running Salamanca, I’d try to keep him. But for some reason, nobody gives my this kind of power.
There was a slight detour at the main square, which involved us meeting some of Mercedes’ friends and eating tapas. Including patatas bravas (potato wedges with red, and in this case also white, sauce), from one of the best bravas places in Spain (according to them).
It was all quite tasty, but nothing reache the heights of the food that Mercedes and her mother had shown us before, so I didn’t bother including shots.
You’re probably bored of photos of amazing Spanish food by now anyway, eh?
Anyway, let’s take a quick journey through some of the main sights.
This is Casa de las Conchas which, well… if I tell you that conchas is ‘shells’ you might perhaps manage to guess why it was named:
This is the New Cathedral, which has very cool doors….
Do you see it?
Bam! apparently when the restored the doors in 1992 someone thought to add the very cute little spaceman.
Some of you playing at home might have been looking for another certain something on the doors.
And that certain something is a Frog.
And the doors are these guys- the doors to the university:
Did you find it yet?
According to the legend as taught by Ms Mercedes, finding the frog gives good luck, and allows the finder to pass their exams.
According to the internet (which, by the way, also confirmed Mercedes’ story, so don’t lose faith in her as our wise guide), the frog may actually be a toad.
And the toad symbolises sex, and the skull death.
Together, the toad-skull is supposed to warn the (male) students to stay away from the (apparently many) local prostitutes because, as you all learned in health class, every time you have sex you literally die.
I would like to point out that, in this case, despite living in the city for many years, and CLAIMING to have found the frog on multiple occasions before, Ms Mercedes was not able to find the frog when questioned by a panel of her peers.
In fact, it was Andy who found the frog.
Not just a pretty face!
^Trying to look tall after her (frankly embarrassing) defeat.
It might surprise you to know, that of all the things we did on the trip, going inside the Salamanca Cathedral was pretty high up there on the list of ‘a few of my favourite things’.
I’m generally part of team ‘once you’ve seen a cathedral, you’ve pretty much seen the cathedrals’*, but this one was exceptional.
*unless it is Sagrada Familia, which is practically perfect in every way.
Not just because of the vaulted ceilings (squee!)….
… but because we didn’t just get to go in the cathedral. We got to go in and up and around and trample all over the roof like a bunch of pretty pigeons.
And it was truly, truly beautiful to see all the fine details of the buildings up close and against that sparkling sky.
The most amazing and terrifying thing was, they also let you walk along those upper reaches inside the church.
The terror part didn’t come only from the height, but from the fact that you could clearly see the cracks in the roof and walls- cracks which had been hastily filled in with plaster but which still managed to look pretty structurally significant.
Focus on the beauty kids. Don’t look at the cracks.
Ok, good work you. You’ve reached the end of the ‘photos of churches from the sky’ portion of the journey.
We spent the remainder of the afternoon walking a bit more, and posing on bridges:
There was also an art Nouveau and Deco museum, which had an ok collection but the most beautiful building you have ever seen. Unfortunately, they also had a strict ‘no photos’ rule, so you’ll have to check it out for yourself.
There were also stories, told by out brilliant tour guide.
This is a statue of a blind old man and his cheeky young companion. Mercedes told us of her favourite story where the blind man and the child are sharing grapes, and the man says ‘I can tell you are eating grapes three at a time’ and the kid asks him how he knows and he responds ‘Because I was eating them two at a time and you didn’t complain’.
Something there about the wisdom of the old. Anyway, apparently they are quite a famous spanish pair, with various short fables like this written about them.
Speaking of pairsA PIIIEEERR TREE A PEEEAAARRR TREE!
Which happens to be in a story-bookish ‘lovers garden’.
We exited through the hipster part of town, and drove back home to Valladolid, to feast on a delicious meal of fried fish and octopus.
Also there were pig ears. Which I have decided are not my friend.
That’s all folks, enjoy the sunset on the way out.