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.
I’ve been lucky enough to travel on three continents; I’ve been to Europe three times and saw new and special things each time. I can’t wait to go back, but for now I will just have to enjoy looking at the memories of my travels.
I took a tour around the country with my mom, and this was a quick shot on a hike that turned out to be one of my favorites. It encompasses so much about the beautiful country.
We took a cruise in the Mediterranean, and coming into Venice in the morning was one of the highlights. It’s an incredible way to see a beautiful city.
We didn’t just see big cities in Europe, though. We were able to get out into the countryside in a few countries like Croatia and also Italy. Here we traveled up a mountain to see the sanctuary and Roman ruins at Tindari, giving us these incredible views.
While studying in Spain, a group of friends and I made a memorable weekend trip to Portugal, where we got along with a smattering of English and Spanish. (And we learned a few words by the time we left.) Lisboa is a beautiful city and one of the first on my list to return to some day. The Belém Tower is one of several historical sites we were able to see.
Of all the places I’ve been to in Europe, my heart truly belongs to Salamanca. This is the iconic Plaza Mayor, where many friends were met with and many drinks were had. It is a wonderful city for young people, and I learned so much during my months there. I hope to take my family there someday so they can see the place where I grew so much. It is precious not only for its people and sites, but for the memories now attached to them.