This week, my photos from Europe are brought to you by the letter S…
Here we have both indoor and outdoor stairs in Ireland, both a bit perilous in their own way. We carried our luggage up these stairs when staying in Ballynahinch Castle, but that was nothing compared to walking the stone steps on Skellig Michael in the wind with no handrail.
The streets of Pompeii are a marvel of Roman engineering. In addition to being laid out methodically, they feature sidewalks, embedded reflector stones, and crosswalks.
I spent a semester in Salamanca during university and a piece of my heart will always remain. A beautiful city, a friendly and fun city, and so full of history. These were my daily sights: the double cathedral, the Plaza Mayor, and my host family’s street in the east part of the old city.
As I mentioned last week in my review of the novel The Pillars of the Earth, the late Gothic period in Spain transitioned into a very ornate style of architecture called Plateresque. The New Cathedral of Salamanca is one example of this style.
Up close, you can see the incredible detail of the facades. “Plateresque” means “in the style of a silversmith,” so there are many little flourishes.
There were some renovations of the exterior done in the 90s, and the builders added their own touches, including this astronaut. See him on the left? It is definitely an unexpected detail!
The places I love most are the ones that feel like home. Salamanca, Spain was home to me for a semester during my undergraduate studies. This is the view of the beautiful Plaza Mayor from one of the cafés there. We spent many hours there, drinking a caña or chocolate, studying, talking, and having our Spanish corrected (laughed at) by young waiters. I hope to someday see this beautiful city again; just looking at this picture takes me back there.
In university, I spent a semester studying abroad in Spain. I fell in love with the university town of Salamanca, with its history, culture, and of course nightlife.
I stayed with a host mother in an apartment just a few minutes’ walk from the Plaza Mayor. I walked with one of my other friends to our classes every day and came to love our little neighborhood. There was a tobacconist shop, some bars, a salsa dance club, a butcher’s, and many other little shops. In the winter, vendors sold roasted chestnuts on the street corners.
The local plaza was under construction while I was there; they made a lot of progress over a few months.