Six Impossible Things

Salamanca Travel Blog

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Getting on my bunk for siesta in Morille (tiniest albergue - only 3 bunks)

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.

Salamanca - my beautiful city
It was a strange moment for me standing outside the oficina de tourismo. We were still dusty and weary from our walk and he had to hurry to the bus station. It was a quick 2 kisses, first the left and then the right cheek and then he turned and walked away. We smiled and waved a familiar wave of good friends. Perhaps this will not be our last goodbye. Maybe we will meet again in India!

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.

Salamanca - watching the football in plaza major

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).

The Cathedral in Sala
Time to catch up on emails and take some time to ponder my next move.

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).

A busker in Sala
It may be difficult to picture the scene or even imagine the sounds echoing off the indecently high domed ceiling with evening light filling the space from stained glass windows. Oh my ! I stayed for 3 arrangements: Giovanni Gabrieli, Roland de Lassus and Johannes Brahms. I was tingling by the time I left.

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.

Sitting in the window of my jazz bar
I had earlier scoped a small bar in a side street and there I joined a mass of students and locals crammed in front of a big screen. From here I cheered and screamed through the 3 goals made by Spain and truly felt a part of it. Five minutes before the end (sure of victory) I returned to Plaza Mayor to see the crowd erupt at full time. What a sight - flags and balloons everywhere. The team is sponsored by Adidas and their motto is ´Impossible is Nothing´.

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.

Typical dinner - tapas and wine
It was open to the stars and set up with about 400 chairs. On the stage there was a Baroque (?) piano and several music stands. The inside of the glorious building was lit and the light through the unusual circular windows was spectacular. I could see up to the top floor and the ceilings were constructed from enormous wooden beams. It was another magic sensation. The crowd were seated, the lighting dimmed and all of a sudden clapping erupted as the small orchestra and the soloist appeared on stage. I was later to find out that I had stumbled upon the Festival Florilegio. The guest opera singer was contratenor Phillipe Jaroussky. Mesmerised and stunned by the impossibility of this surprising gift, I just stayed in the moment and enjoyed the creation of his perfect voice and the spectacular musicians.

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 . . .

Besos, Grace

RoyL says:
Gracey, sounds like you are having a ball, I am very proud of you. Hope you found a pub that was playing the European Cup final.
Posted on: Jun 29, 2008
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Getting on my bunk for siesta in M…
Getting on my bunk for siesta in …
Salamanca - my beautiful city
Salamanca - my beautiful city
Salamanca - watching the football …
Salamanca - watching the football…
The Cathedral in Sala
The Cathedral in Sala
A busker in Sala
A busker in Sala
Sitting in the window of my jazz b…
Sitting in the window of my jazz …
Typical dinner - tapas and wine
Typical dinner - tapas and wine
photo by: mkrh