Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #145: Getting to Know You

During my university study abroad experience, I spent three months getting know the city of Salamanca, Spain. I was taking humanities classes at the university there with other students from my American university. I arrived with a barely adequate map of the city; my host mother was scandalized and took me straight away to the tourism office to get a better one.

The first place in Salamanca everyone gets to know is the Plaza Mayor, the heart of the city. We spent many hours here studying in cafes over chocolate and churros or drinking “una caña” (a beer) in the plaza. It’s also a common meeting place; groups will arrange to meet “bajo el reloj” or under the clock to go out for the evening. The Plaza Mayor was featured in the movie Vantage Point (though the rest of the movie was shot in Mexico).

Living in the city for several months gave us a slightly deeper perspective than the average tourist. Of course, we visited the famous double cathedral, but I also had a chance to attend Mass there. My friends and I showed up one Sunday to find service being held in the old section…and it was definitely not in Spanish. I still don’t know whether it was simply in Latin, or perhaps the Mozarabic rite.

Salamanca’s New Cathedral, late Gothic

For university students, a visit to the famous university facade is imperative. Built in the 16th century, the ornate facade contains a small image of a frog somewhere in all that Plateresque detail. Students that find it are said to have success passing their exams.

Can you see the frog on top of the skull?

By the time we left, we knew the city much more intimately, not just the standard tourist sites, but things like where to find things like cheap Internet, cute shoes, and the best clubs for dancing. Such is the life of a university student. But in the decade since I’ve seen Salamanca, I continue to learn new things about my former adopted hometown through my reading, such as its history in the Peninsular War in the early 1800s and more recently in the Spanish Civil War (which, frankly, seems to be rarely discussed despite, or perhaps because of, the Archive there). I look forward to traveling there again someday and getting to know Salamanca all over again!

You can get to know more at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

5 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #145: Getting to Know You

  1. Tina Schell April 26, 2021 / 12:31 pm

    I’ve seen some of your previous posts on the city Mei-Mei and your genuine affection for it comes shining through. A perfect choice for the challenge.


  2. For Tyeth April 26, 2021 / 2:49 pm

    Wow someone has quoted/named a movie I have actually had chance to see, Vantage Point, and it wasn’t a bad movie either. I recognised the building from the film in your photo. But regards the University Facade and the Frog….I think the masonry stonework needs a little repair! It would be hard to tell that the blob on the skull was the Frog (a squashed frog maybe). Great photos as always.


  3. Ana April 26, 2021 / 11:55 pm

    I have liked getting to know Salamanca through your experience, I still do not know it in person, but I really wanted to have a drink in the main square


  4. scillagrace April 27, 2021 / 12:57 am

    Thanks for joining the challenge! What an interesting subject, totally new to me. It’s clearly a place that engaged you in an important way.


  5. JohnRH April 27, 2021 / 12:06 pm

    Great photos. Impressive facade!


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