Salamanca: Part 2 (The Rest)

After our prolonged visit to the cathedrals, it was time to get something to eat. Since the market was so close by, we stepped in to see what they might have.

There was literally one fruit stand. While we also saw a local canned goods purveyor, there were few other options except for:

Pork. Yep, we are still in the pork heart of Spain and all these meats were available from various butchers. If you’re wondering, this was just one of over a dozen butchers that comprised the bulk of the market’s stalls.

We did settle on a slice of hornazo. This is a regional meat pie that Mikey likens to a proto-Hot Pocket. It’s basically a flour and yeast dough stuffed with ham, chorizo, and egg. Yeah – totally delicious and free with a drink purchase.

After our snack, we decided to visit the convent where Chris Columbus first marketed his trip. Although much of the Convent of Saint Stephen was constructed after Columbus’ death, he did meet here with the Catholic Monarchs prior to his 1492 voyage in order to sell them on the trip and work out various logistics.

The cloisters are simply beautiful.

Mikey really liked the Gothic vaults dating to the early 16th-century.

Here ya go, Mom – another shot of our protagonist standing in the courtyard.

Speaking of which, the courtyard is simple beautiful on such a nice Spring day.

Even climbing the stairs was a beautiful adventure. Oh, and these stone babies aren’t going anywhere!

We worked our way to the choir loft high up in the rear of the church. Wow – someone’s got a good burn going.

Speaking of burns, one of these candles is lit for you, Olga.

The choir loft was really well preserved. Once again, you can see the giant hymnal stand in the middle.

We’re not entirely sure of this painting’s subject, but it was massive and beautiful.

Our next stop was the Casa de las Conchas or Shell House. Built in the 16th-century by a knight of the Order of Santiago, it is adorned with over 300 scallop shells which are the symbol of the order and its patron saint.

Currently housing a public library, the inner patio is a wonderful example of the stonework associated with this region and era.

This was also a pretty cool lion and reminder that we are in the kingdom of Castile y Leon (castle and lion).

Our next stop was the University of Salamanca. Although founded in 1134, it was given a royal charter in 1218. Ergo, it will be celebrating its 800th anniversary this year and can definitively lay claim to being Spain’s oldest university.

The university’s well-known facade hides a small sculpture of a frog. While we won’t divulge its exact location, it has become both a symbol of the city and an indicator that one will find luck in Salamanca if he can spot the frog.

Much more obvious is the central depiction of the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella. Again, the university maintains a royal charter, so it has always been tied closely to the monarchy.

Finally, we visited the “Heavens of Salamanca” – a 15th-century fresco from the old library which depicts astrological signs in a field of stars.

Mikey was really impressed by this fresco and we took quite a few unauthorized photographs of it.

After a couple of sightseeing days, we bid adieu to both the city and some friends with whom we had walked for a few days. Yes, there was food, but the cameras came out once we’d all eaten. (Thanks, Carolyn, for this picture and a warm Buen Camino to all of you.) Hasta entonces.

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