Sunday, November 7, 2010

Salamanca ohh What a City

As promised here is part dos of my adventures recently.  Two Fridays ago (Oct. 29-Nov 1) all twenty of us Americans got to go to Salamanca for the long weekend.  I mean, life is already good because we dont have classes on Friday, but in Spain I feel like there is some sort of holiday every other weekend.  This trip was no exception and because Nov. 1st is "El Dia de Todos los Santos" aka all saints day we got three legit days in Salamanca and a day spent pretty much traveling.  So without farther adu (sp?) let me tell you about my amazing trip.

We all got to the bus at 9 30 and we were off.  As most people know, Spain and most of Europe, is all about mass transport and although we get to rent out our own bus, the trip is still pretty long.  It took us about 5 hrs to get to Salamanca but luckly due to crazy Spanish laws we were forced to have a 30 minute smoke break for the bus driver half way through.  I actually really enjoyed the trip because I love just hanging out and talking to everyone on the bus.  Its funny because for the first hour we are all extremely loud and then all of a sudden everyone shuts up and it gets super quite because everyone falls asleep due to being up partying the night before.

So the first thing you should know about Salamanca is its home to the third oldest university in Europe and because of that history of learning to this day a lot of Spanish scholars live in Salamanca and a lot of people from around the world want to come and study there.  When I was there I cannot tell you how many people from all over the world I met- Some guys from rome, a group of hot portugese girls, some wierd german, a group of Americans from Ohio, an Australian... the list goes on.  Above are two pictures of the city from standing on top of the " New Cathedral" which, funny enough" is hundreds of years older than the United States.

I just thought the 2nd one was funny, it was an accident, I wasnt ready.

The first day, when we got there, we pretty muched chilled.  We unpacked, got settled in, and had the rest of the day free to explore the city by ourselves.  As in Barcelona I really enjoy walking around a new city and not going to the huge tourist sites but seeing what a person that lived in Salamanca would see.
That night, we did exactly what we always do, went out and partied hard.  I´m not going to go into details about this part of the trip ( I am an academic after all, and do not approve of "partying") but lets just say everyone had one the best times during this weekend.  I mean the clubs are full of college students from all over the world and everyone speaks English so you can finally communicate!  The next day we toured the new cathedral, which I have posted pictures of above and some some of the city.  The main center is called La calle de los Torros- The street of the bulls because it was where, originally, the stadium for bull fighting was.  When that closed all the roads led to that area so they decided to turn it into a plaza at the center of the city.  I didnt get any pictures of it during the day, but at night it was amazing...
Sunday, Halloween, is a huge day in Salamanca.  If anyone has studied history you will probably remember hearing about THE Lisbon Earthquake in the 17th century that destroyed most of the city.  (Candide the work by Voultaire talks about it also- I mean this was a big deal) Anyway, Salamanca is close to Portugal and the effects of this huge earthquake were felt there as well.  To recognize this, and to pay tribute to everyone that died a man climes the clock tower of the New Cathedral every year on the 31th of October. Bands and people come out from all over Spain and Portugal to sing and dance and watch him do this.  Us Americans kinda stumbled on this and got prime spots to watch him do it.

It started with a small crowd, and If you can look closely, the hombre with the hat on is the man that climes the tower, he´s taller than everyone because hes on a horse.
This is the crowd just before he starts to clime.  I´m telling you it was madness.  Dr. Chandler´s wife was at the back of the crowd and she said it legit stretched for half a mile down a wide street with people trying to come watch.  Not only that it was FREEZING the whole trip.  I´m talking about low 40´s with wind.  These Spanish people dont mess around!
This is a crappy picture, I know. BUT if you look really closely what happens is the hombre climes up the tower and goes through a whole in the clock.  I tried to get him sticking his head out but all I got was the door to the clock being opened.  Just imagine.
After we had frozen solid, and watched the dude clime the tower, we decided to go see the University.  Its crazy how old that place is and people still use the same rooms.  Its like saying " yah this is Christopher Columbus´ real ship but sure you can take it out for a ride" I mean what the heck?!
Different parts of the university...

This statue is important.  This is a Spanish priest (I´m sorry I forgot his name, google it if you care that much) that got in trouble with the Catholic church because he translated some of the Bible from Latin to Spanish.  He was thrown in jail for like 12 years.  He was also Dean/headmaster of the University once he came back I believe.

This is the room the Priest was taken from, in the middle of a lecture, by the Inquesition before being thrown into jail.  The joke goes, after 12 years of being in Jail, the man returned to this very same room and says "As I was just saying..." and continued with the same speech as before, not caring what trouble he could get into.  I´m sorry the picture is bad but the lighting is terrible, but check out those benches.  Its like a tree thats just had the bark taken off, and think about how historic it is, AND PEOPLE STILL USE THIS ROOM!? whats wrong with these people.
The next few pictures are of the inside of the University.  At the time the school was just starting it doubled as a religious center so not to step of the extremely powerful toes of the church, who could have easily shut it down. Again today people study in these rooms. BLOWS MY MIND. It looks like a museum...

Last but not least.  I wanna talk about Halloween night.  One of the funnest nights of my life, hands down.  Before the trip began a few people talked about dressing up in costumes but I wasnt going to do it.  By the time we had finished touring the University everyone was talking about there costume so Chris (a friend of mine) and me started freaking about because we didnt have anything! we ran around like chickens with our heads cut off until we were able to piece together a cheap, lame costume of a brojo (witch is broja in spanish but since we are dudes brojo-try to keep up).  What we didnt know, and failed to recognize the night before was that in Spain, what you do is dress up for when it turns to midnight the NIGHT BEFORE so they actually celebrate Halloween the night of the 30th or the early morning hours of the 31st.  So pretty much 20 lame Americans with crazy costumes come rolling into all these bars and dance clubs looking like complete idiots. I loved it. It was so funny. Here is my costume...
Yes complete with broom, AND a cape that says " Enter if you dare" which is obvously extremely scary.
I wish I had more pictures with everyone elses costumes BUT I dont so check facebook.
On the ride home we were all pretty beat from the night before.  We all sleeped and talked about our adventures.  But something really cool happend and I´m going to call no-homo on this.  I literally saw the biggest rainbow of my life.  AND not only that I saw where it ended.  I kid you not there should have been a pot of gold because it was literally the end of the rainbow.  I thought that wasnt possible but it happened. And I have pictures to prove it...
It was crazy wierd and everyone was freaking out but I thought it was cool.

Side note..........
I told my friends I write a blog and they forced me to talk about my Bocadillo obsession. When I was in Barcelona I literally ate four Bocadillos a day.  For those of you who do not know what a Bocadillo is, let me enlighten you.  Its just a sandwhich on bread that doesnt look like American square bread BUT its delish.  I eat them all the time.  Just last night after I went to the clubs I had 2 from this place called Zampas. Bacon and queso. SO GOOD.  I like Jamon Iberico and queso. But what I really love is what I get every day at school when we have a break between classes.  I ordered it the first day and by now all I say when I go to the cafeteria is Bocadillo Caliente and they make it for me.  All my friends get it now also.  Lomo (pork) Queso (cheese) Pimientos (Red peppers) and Bacon. I eat one every day at school before lunch and I die a little inside when I think about how I´m not going to be able to eat any more once I go back to the states.  So thats all I wanted to say.  That and I actually took pictures of my Bocadillo last Thur.
Ok so I may have gotten a little carried away, but hey, people do crazy things when they are in love... Right?


  1. Bahaha your halloween costume cracks me up! That sounds like so much fun! I cant believe they still use that University, that is INSANE! And that city of the bulls or whatever is gorgeous! It kinda reminds me of Rome! I miss you alot and cannot wait to see you in december and hear about all this is person! Love you!

  2. I can't believe I missed two blog posts! It looks like you had so much fun!! Salamanca looks awesome. I love you dressed as a brojo. Hahahahaha. You look pretty ghetto in your pictures though, I'm not gonna lie. I think it's your little chin strap thing and your big black jacket. Glad you're having fun! Have fun w/ mom and dad there! : ) Love you!


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