Thursday, April 17, 2003

Just back from three days in Salamanca.

It is truly amazing and perhaps the most beautiful city that I have ever visited. Even Prague, Budapest and Vienna lie in the shadow of this university city.

I was completely blown away by my brief time spent there. I became despaired walking around with a camera because you simply cannot decide on which direction to point the lens. It was the first time that I wished that I had a video camera because it was an impossible task to try and fully capture the atmosphere and magnificance of the city with stills.

The entire town is built in a very yellow, local sandstone which illuminates in the moonlight. This means that even at night there is no escape from the spell that the medieval city holds you in. As with the majority of Spain´s finest sights, the greatest treasures here are of a religious nature. However the highlight for me was the buzzing main plaza where I must have sat for up to four hours simply chilling out and "people watching".

For me the most appealling aspect of Salamanca was that the charm of the local people equalled that of their surroundings. I went for coffee with the ticket inspector and his wife, who recognised me from the train, I was given a history tour of the main plaza by a ninety year old man and I went out for drinks with a few native students. In each of these encounters it was they who made the opening approaches. What makes it all the more impressive is that Salamanca is a city with a constant flow of tourists and copious numbers of foreign students. Despite all of this the people seem completely unaffected and remain very open to outsiders. Needless to say such things do not happen in Madrid.

Salamanca is a city that I will give some serious thought about relocating to in the coming months. From the language point of view, the local accent is said to be the best in spain. Salamanca has a slower pace of life and the night scene could never possibly compete with Madrid. It is a city where one would need to secure a job before making the big move....but watch this space !!