"Searching for the golden hue . . ." Top 5 Page for this destination Salamanca by acemj

Salamanca Travel Guide: 532 reviews and 1,171 photos

I wear a suit to work. My company is pretty conservative, so it usually comes in either blue or black with a white shirt and a fairly subdued tie, maybe in red, but not Corvette red. Things are done in an orderly way and communications are submitted in a formal, proper manner. So it shouldn't be a surprise that when I travel, I love seeing colors and chaos and struggling to communicate by any means possible. It's great visiting a place like Brazil where painted walls and painted lips jump out at you as you walk by beneath a hot sun and a bright blue sky not understanding a word of the local slang.

I had heard that Salamanca was a bit severe. Despite its UNESCO designation as a city of culture, it seems to be more well-known for its solidity. A long history which includes ties to Rome and the Visigoths and winters that are among the most frigid in Spain. It's also known for its university which is the oldest in Spain and one of the oldest in Europe. In fact, at one time, it was considered one of the "four leading lights of the Medieval world" along with the Paris, Bologna and Oxford. The academic pedigree of the town and the fact that locals are said to speak the purest form of Castilian Spanish in the world have made Salamanca a magnet for students seeking to learn Spanish the right way. It's not just foreigners though as the University of Salamanca is still considered to be one of the best in Spain, attracting the type of academics that enjoy labs and libraries more than liquid libations and lusty lips.

The city is also known for its monumental buildings most of which are made of stone made from Villamayor. The monochromatic feel of the place is accentuated if the weather is gray and overcast as it was during my trip, although, in better light, the stone is said to glow in a beautiful golden hue. I would have loved to have seen the golden hue on my first day in town, but it wasn't there, so I kept on searching.

I didn't see the sun or a blue sky in Salamanca. I walked among former and current convents and cathedrals with high imposing facades. I saw a young student pacing in a square looking as if he was about to take a test that would determine the course of the rest of his life.

And just when I was about to give up on Salamanca, I went to Calle Van Dyck at night and was welcomed to some food and conversation by a local family. They shared their wine and asked me about my travels and my home in broken English. They tolerated my even more broken Spanish and when the husband smiled his red wine-stained teeth were hard to ignore. He was wearing a tan sportcoat with out-dated patches at the elbows and his wife had way too much makeup on her face and jewelry on her arms. Her bracelets clinked along with our wine glasses and their young son ran around the bar laughing and playing with little red lights pulsing from his shoes with every step. And just when I thought I'd missed the golden hue of Salamanca, it dawned on me that I was seeing it here in all its bright and flawed glory.

  • Last visit to Salamanca: Oct 2004
  • Intro Updated Jan 15, 2006
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Reviews (33)

Comments (8)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Jul 7, 2009 at 1:05 PM

    You have presented a great depiction of the city and its sites. Thank you

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2006 at 6:55 PM

    Great overview. Thanks for refreshing my great memories. I didn't know the specialities of Salamanca.

  • fairy_dust's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2006 at 6:25 PM

    Great page! I miss Salamanca, one of my favorite places in the world!

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Jan 18, 2006 at 3:52 PM

    Mark, what a fantastic introduction. Excellent use of the new photo setup. Even though the weather did not cooperate, it still seems like a superior place to visit. Thanks for the tour.

  • spanishguy's Profile Photo
    Jan 16, 2006 at 9:16 AM

    Hi Mark! Wonderful page about a wonderful city. It's one of the nicers towns in Spain, in my opinion.

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2006 at 2:36 AM

    Thanks for the updates... much more complete page now!

  • maple_air's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2006 at 6:45 PM

    Ahh,Salamanca, Magic in english isn't it? You came to this place lookin forward to the magic golden hues of its buildings...instead life's unforgettable golden moments unfolded before your very eyes when you were with that family. Salamanca indeed! ;D

  • b1bob's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2006 at 5:55 PM

    I like it. As always, the restaurant tips are my favourites.

acemj

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