Searching in Salamanca
After a few weeks off from traveling, our group loaded up on a bus and headed south to Salamanca for the day. It was more relaxed than Segovia and we had better weather which was much appreciated (still no sun though)!
For the morning we did a walking tour with our professors: seeing the convent, university plaza, plaza mayor, palace and other sights. The architecture of the city was beautiful, which seems to be becoming normal for us to see here in Spain. The Plaza Mayor of Salamanca is said to be one of the most beautiful plazas in the world, and it was modeled off of Valladolid’s (our professor expressed pride at this fact). Also famous is a grand doorway to one of the first universities in the world. Amongst all its carvings and designs is a itty-bitty frog you’re supposed to find. Despite years of childhood spent looking at I-Spy books, we could not find this frog to save our lives. Unfortunately, we needed a little guidance, but eventually everyone spotted it. The legend says that those who find it without help will have good luck! In reality, it was a reminder to stay focused on your studies (look up the legend if you’d like to know more!).
In the afternoon we toured the Cathedral of Salamanca again with our professors. This was beautiful. I love cathedral architecture in general, so I was excited to step inside … and it was breathtaking. The Gothic style gave the building high ceilings for a gentle natural light that filled the building. High ceilings seen in Gothic cathedrals were symbolic, the idea that the higher the ceiling, the closer to God and Heaven. There were design elements everywhere you looked, which left me wondering how people could concentrated on praying when there was so much to be distracted by. The cathedral itself was quite grand and we wove through many different rooms and hallways connecting different parts to the other. Many rooms housed caskets of noblemen of the 15th/16th century all adorned and painted with fancy decoration. As we walked around also, we stepped on many a in-ground burial marked with small numbers in the floor…can’t get much closer to god than being buried in the church I guess!
All in all, touring the cathedral was another one of my favorite things I’ve done so far on the trip. You can tell a lot about a culture and a time period just by the buildings they valued in their city.
Next weekend, I’m off to Portugal!
Courtney Cerniglia is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point majoring in business administration and Spanish.