Six Impossible Things
Salamanca Travel Blog› entry 17 of 43 › view all entries
Alice in Wonderland - one of my favourite stories. There is a line in the book where the Queen says " why, before breakfast I have believed in six impossible things"
Life can be like that if you make those choices to create it.
I arrived in Salamanca at noon yesterday with my beautiful companion, Juan the journalist. It was an easy 21km walk among the rolling hills along a farm road, so stress free for my legs. I was disappointed that Juan had to leave and return to Madrid for work but being a Pilgrim is about having short intense relationships and I was very glad to have met this interesting and interested man.
So, alone again - but now in beautiful and bustling Salamanca; I had to wrap my mind around being in charge of all decisions again. Walking with Juan meant that he could help with asking questions and ordering food. Although I am perfectly capable of managing on my own, it was kinda nice to have a man take charge for a few days and now I felt a little lost for several minutes. I had to sit down and find the ´Peregrina Sola´ again before I could continue.
I decided to stay in a Pension close to the beautiful Cathedral because the Albergue is a little strict and closes at 10pm. Anyone who knows Spain will understand that life does not begin until 9pm in the evening. And Salamanca is a student town so there is lots of nightly entertainment.
After stocking up on essentials, buying more food and recharging the phone I set about looking for internet and stumbled (well, I was just being nosey really) upon a student ´squat´where they have been given space to write, create art and generally hang out. The walls of this ramshackle building were covered with some amazing graffiti. Some friendly students helped me by drawing a map of the university campus opposite, directing me to the library. One asked if I knew of a hip-hop band from Melbourne which of course I havn´t but it was quite surreal as this girl was from Latvia!
Unable to locate the uni library, I found the Biblioteca Publicá and free internet in the coolest ´cool´ building (another ancient cream edifice called ´Casa de las Conchas´ as the outside is covered in Scallop shells - symbolic for Pilgrims).
I had a semi plan for the evening and from there just let things flow. It is wonderful being alone and trying to get lost in the old cobbled streets. Everything is on a grand scale in Salamanca - the streets are wider and the buildings constructed of a cream stone so they glow golden in the early morning and late afternoon sun. Incredible! (say this like a French man).
As a university town, it is teeming with young people from all over the world. How I would love to stay here and learn Spanish. (Impossible? I think not, and neither would the Queen).
At 7.50 I rushed from my room to arrive at the nearby Cathedral to hear a free concert of Musica Sacra by the Monteverdi Choir (English Baroque Soloists (directed by Sir John Eliot Gardener).
But, another cultural event beckoned and I made my way swiftly to the grand Plaza Mayor where a giant screen had been set up to see the semi-finals of the European Football. Spain was playing Russia and the atmosphere was crazy. I have never seen so much red and yellow. I perched myself at a bar with vino in hand and set about cheering for Spain with everyone else there. You would be crazy to attempt to cheer for Russia! At half time there was no score and I departed for another venue.
The jubilant (but well behaved) crowd slowly dispersed and I followed small groups in search of more culture . . .
After a while, I came across a gorgeous building with many well dressed people appearing to have ´half time´cigarettes outside. I followed some inside past the security guard and into a divine square patio.
How do you possibly end an evening like this? Well, just across from here was a small intimate bar with the welcoming sound of Jazz music and some lovely vino tinto. I perched at the bar reading the programme from the opera and just savouring the ambience yet again. It was perfect.
Another day tomorrow, another breakfast and another 6 inpossible things . . .