After waiting for what seemed like a trillion years, I’m finally in Salamanca! waheey!
This summer I have been in America working at a summer camp and then I was travelling through the States for a bit afterwards so i literally only had 2 weeks at home before I was off on my year abroad. Not a lot of time at all! Those 2 weeks were pretty rushed, packing up to go and saying my goodbyes but they gave me time to get back on my feet and renew myself before heading off on my next adventure and getting my ‘studying’ head screwed back on. Anyhow, I got the plane to Madrid then I got a 3hr bus journey to Salamanca. I arrived pretty late on in the evening at 1opm and I was met with a giant fireworks display above the cathedral and thousands of people crowding the streets and having a massive fiesta! I thought it was because of my arrival obviously 😉 But turns out the week of the 7th-15th September is the week of ferias y fiestas. There are concerts, stalls, processions and other art shows that make up the festival and the festival is in held in honor of the Patron Saint, la Virgen de la Vega. There is such a crazy, bustling and colourful atmosphere and i’m glad i arrived this week because it’s a nice welcome! The first day I woke up determined to get myself sorted out with a flat and enrolment. After a stressful day of flat viewing, I got myself a cosy little place to live, only a 12 minute walk from La plaza mayor and my university building! I couldn’t believe my luck but it was pretty easy getting a place to live because there are advertisements on all the lampposts and easypiso.com has thousands of flats. I am living with an Italian girl, 2 Spanish girls and a Peruvian girl. Only one of them speaks english well, therefore this will be challenging but it will definitely help my Spanish. To celebrate I went out for tapas and drinks, it’s great over here because food and drink is so cheap and in some restaurants and bars when you order a drink they give you a tapas for free which is amazing!! The food over here is amazing because it’s fresh and locally sourced. Salamanca is also famous for it’s ham therefore there is like 8 ham shops down every street which isn’t the greatest for a vegetarian! lol But i did manage to find myself a cute little vegan/vegetarian restaurant in the centre of town which is great! It’s just so different from Glasgow because there are a billion vegan/veggie restaurants there.
The next day I was a tourist. The town itself isn’t that big so you can see it in 2 days probably. I visited La plaza mayor which is a massive square in the centre of the town where events and concerts are hosted. The architecture of la plaza is stunning, especially at night when it’s all lit up. I then visited a few of the cathedrals that are scattered around the city and they were breathtaking and full of history. I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the cobbled streets, shopping in little boutiques, going to museums and drooling over the fresh bread and cakes in the patisserie shops. It’s so easy to get lost here because all the streets look the same and all the buildings are of 12th century architecture and are a golden colour, that’s why the city is called the golden city and was named a UNESCO world heritage site! That evening there was a concert in La Plaza mayor; the first act was a spanish pop singer who was good to dance to then a SCOTTISH CELTIC BAND which i was really surprised about but it was so nice having that tiny bit of Scotland there with me in la plaza mayor surrounded by all these Spanish people. One thing about this exchange that’s going to take a while getting used to is how late the Spanish stay out partying. 1am is considered early, don’t be surprised to see elderly people still out at 3am and young students out at 5am! i’m going to be a zombie with this lack of sleep but hey that’s what a siesta is for!
The next again day I wandered around the campus and the parks of Salamanca because it was a Sunday and everything was shut apart from some bars and cafes! However it was far from boring because every Sunday there is a medieval market in one of the squares which was absolutely insane. Everyone who worked at the stalls was dressed in traditional medieval outfits and the stalls sold all kinds of handmade bits and bobs. But THE FOOD, aww my the food was incredible, nutella crepes, patatas bravas, churros everything! There was even a petting zoo but instead of the regular ducks or pigs you have in Scotland they had camels, donkeys and vultures!
Overall my first few days have been great! I could walk around this city again and again and still find a new little cobbled street or a statue or a hidden park that i’ve never seen before, Salamanca has so many surprises and historic gems tucked away in the city. I feel like since I arrived during the ferias y fiestas week there has been no shortage of events or of a welcoming atmosphere. This week all of the erasmus students arrive so I hope to go to socials and meet new people from all over the world and find my feet a bit more and prepare myself for classes which start next Monday.
Hope my blabbering was insightful and interesting and if any of you have questions don’t be afraid to ask!