Salamanca, Spain: Around a Historical University City

Hi, all!

How are you doing? I hope you all are doing well and in high spirits of travelling. It’s spring, marking the end of winter. The weather transition can be quite hellish with flu and pollen lurking around and threatening our health, so make sure you take up extra vitamins, drink a lot of water, and drink honey (this last one is a remedy for almost everything, so get that jar of honey ready).

To celebrate almost-end of April, we’re bringing you our story in Salamanca, Spain. Salamanca is known as a university city (housing the fourth oldest university in the world) and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the site of major battles, important historical events, and all that dates back to its founding in the pre-Ancient Rome period.

City hall of Salamanca
City hall of Salamanca

Start your trip at the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca, which is one of the most beautiful city squares I’d ever seen. Bask in the sunlight and the golden hues radiating from the stones. Don’t forget to visit Cafe Novelty, which is the oldest cafe in Salamanca and was the cafe of prominent figures in literature. The city hall of Salamanca is located in its Plaza Mayor.

You might recognize the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca from the movie “Vantage Point”. The city was the setting of the movie.

Tip: Go to the tourist office and get yourself a tourist map. Follow the route and you won’t miss the major tourist attractions. From then on, expand your trip to the outer or hidden parts of the city. That way, you’ll get the best of the city 😉

Facade of Casa de las Conchas
Facade of Casa de las Conchas

From Plaza Mayor, we took a walk through Rua Mayor and passed many incredible sights. Salamanca’s old town was so picturesque, we couldn’t stop taking photos. But clearly, we can’t post all of them here because most involved our faces hehe~

While walking at Rua Mayor, we came across Casa de las Conchas, which is now a public library. What’s unique about this building is that its facade is covered by shells. It’s pretty noticeable from the walk, so you won’t miss it! Right beside Casa de las Conchas, you’ll La Clerecía, a catholic church. This church was glued to the Pontifica university building, creating a pretty corner of picturesque buildings.

New cathedral of Salamanca, viewed from Plaza de Anaya
New cathedral of Salamanca, viewed from Plaza de Anaya

We ended our trip through Rua Mayor at the Plaza de Anaya. It’s a square/park where important buildings of the city meet together: the Cathedral of Salamanca (the New Cathedral facade, while the Old Cathedral is glued at the other side), San Sebastian Church, and Salamanca University.

New Cathedral of Salamanca, lateral facade.
New Cathedral of Salamanca, lateral facade.
Church of San Sebastian
Church of San Sebastian
Building adjacent to the Church of San Sebastian.
Building adjacent to the Church of San Sebastian.

Instead of entering the cathedral to climb the tower, we decided to eat lunch instead because we were famished. We opted for another route by taking a small road beside the university building towards Calle Libreros. We passed by the Provincial Historical Archives building, which houses important archives especially documents regarding the Spanish Civil War.

Provincial historical archives building.
Provincial historical archives building.

On this street, you’ll find the university’s front facade where you canfind the famous frog of Salamanca sitting on top of a skull at the facade of the university building. Across the university building, you’ll find the Museum of Salamanca, which houses the whole history of Salamanca including archaeology, fine arts, and etnology.

PS: I couldn’t find the frog 😦

Regards,

San

Salamanca, Spain
We definitely recommend visiting Salamanca, especially in early winter or early summer. Pack up your things and start exploring the world!

Segovia: An Enchanting Stroll

Hi, everyone!

It’s so good to be back, especially with a new look and a more organized system. We’ve also introduced a new approach, and that’s gonna we be our little secret because we don’t want to spoil you all with sneak peeks of all the upcoming exciting surprises in 2016 🙂

We hope that 2016 has been treating you well so far. We’re going to present travel articles, still, and we hope to inspire you to visit a lot of places this year, because travelling certainly is in our resolution.

Segovia is a small town north of Madrid, Spain. It’s a town where it frequently rains and temperatures drop during winter. Segovia was a Celtic town that later became a Roman city, though it was believed to be abandoned during the Islamic conquest of Spain. It was also known as an important wool and textiles trading center for its strategic position.

Walking from the local interchange
Walking from the local interchange

There are various transportation options from Madrid. Segovia is a 2-hour drive by car. You can also reach the town by bus, taking La Sepulvedana bus from the Moncloa station (14,31€ for a 2-way ticket), or by train. There are 2 options to travel by train: to take the regional train (2 hours) (from 8,25€) or to take the medium distance train (30 mins) (from 12,90€).

It is recommended to check the local weather forecast before travelling to Segovia, especially if it’s not summer. During summer, it is almost always sunny there, but if you’re lucky, you can get a beautiful sunny day in winter, like we did.

If you travel to Segovia by train, you’ll have to take a taxi or a bus to the city center and drop off. Most likely, you’ll drop off at the local bus interchange, which is the same interchange where you drop off if you go to Segovia from Madrid by bus. From the interchange, we walked towards the city center. It’s easy to find the city center: you just spot a big pedestrian road and a small road for cars. You’ll find a church on your left and in front, tada! The famous aqueduct of Segovia.

Parroquia de San Millán
Parroquia de San Millán
The aqueduct of Segovia. You can spot the figure of the Virgin of the Aqueduct.
The aqueduct of Segovia. You can spot the figure of the Virgin of the Aqueduct.
To the right, you can find restaurants and it goes towards the city area.
To the right, you can find restaurants and it goes towards the city area.
But we're going to the left, to the ancient city :D
But we’re going to the left, to the ancient city 😀

The aqueduct of Segovia is an architectural marvel that dates back from the late 1st or early 2nd century CE. It consists of huge granite blocks and is considered the most important Roman engineering work in Spain.

From the aqueduct, you can go to the Tourist Information Centre and get yourself a map of Segovia. It helps as you venture through the alleys of the old town. But still, we’re going to the left of the aqueduct.

As you climb the stairs, you can see a beautiful view of the aqueduct's shadows cast upon Plaza de la Artillería.
As you climb the stairs, you can see a beautiful view of the aqueduct’s shadows cast upon Plaza de la Artillería.

We followed the way to find Iglesia de San Martín and Plaza de Medina del Campo. We continued towards a more crowded pedestrian street, but still going towards the Cathedral.

One of the main streets of the old town.
One of the main streets of the old town.

On the way, we saw an interesting gate to our left and decided to explore it.

And we found a beautiful park! Maybe it was because of the weather, but nonetheless, breathtaking! This is Paseo Salón Isabel II.
And we found a beautiful park! Maybe it was because of the weather, but nonetheless, breathtaking

We returned to the main street towards the Cathedral.

The cathedral of Segovia.
The cathedral of Segovia.

The Cathedral of Segovia is located at the Plaza Mayor of Segovia. It is the last Gothic cathedral in Spain and is known as “The Lady of the Cathedrals”. During sunny days, the limestones basked under the sunlight create amazing golden hues radiating from the cathedral towards the Plaza Mayor.

We then continued walking towards the Alcazar of Segovia.

This landscape greeted us at the to the right of the gates of the Alcazar.
This landscape greeted us at the to the right of the gates of the Alcazar.

The Alcazar of Segovia is a royal palace that is a favored residence of the kings of Castile. The building has two courtyards, two towers, and a keep. On sunny days, you should explore the palace to the fullest, because some accesses are closed during cold rainy days. You’ll encounter decorated gardens and beautiful views, all while exploring a castle that also houses the Artillery museum.

The Alcazar of Segovia.
The Alcazar of Segovia.
One of the rooms in the palace.
One of the rooms in the palace.

If the weather’s nice and especially sunny, and you’re physically fit, we recommend you to climb the Torre de Juan II. It’s a tower with steep steps and quite tiring to climb. But what you find at the end of the climb is inexplicable by words!

Segovia, from Torre de Juan II.
Segovia, from Torre de Juan II.
Mountains and fields, taken from Torre de Juan II.
Mountains and fields, taken from Torre de Juan II.

And we ended our journey with the Alcazar. We had to catch the bus back to Madrid 🙂

Walking back
Walking back

Love,

San