Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Festival Time

Plaza Major

Hola! Que Tal? Well, I’m still in Salamanca relaxing a bit and taking some language lessons. I’ve been lucky so far to have the help from friends to keep me out of trouble when ordering or trying to find my way around. Since I’ll have a couple of months on my own after here I thought learning a bit more of the language than “una cerveza” would be beneficial.

This past weekend marked the start of the local festival to welcome the students back. In the Plaza Major they set up a large stage and all around the town center vendors setup tapas stands. It all makes for a carnival atmosphere where you wander around taking in the smells and sounds of the city. The tapas stands are great, for a 1.50 euro you get a small cerveza and a tapas. In between snacks there are wandering minstrel and dancers to follow around or if you prefer tuck into one of the local shops to peruse the local crafts or buy that new pair of handmade shoes. Luckily for my budget my pack will not hold any more stuff or I would already be in trouble.

On Sunday a friend and I took hopped a bus over to Valladolid to see a bit of the town and take in some of their festival. It is a bit smaller than Salamanca but it has a lot to offer. It is the town where Cervantes lived and Columbus died. We had the chance to visit the Columbus museum and the house where Cervantes lived. We also had the chance to take in some of the local color which included watching some very beautiful Spanish dancers.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again. Ok, I know it’s a cheesy song lyric but, somehow appropriate. I’ve now arrived in southern Europe and have had a whirl wind trip so far. The flight was relatively uneventful (an hour and a half delay out of Philadelphia) and finding my way to downtown Lisboa was very easy. A few hours later and I managed to find a little (very little) room at the Luar Guest House, in Bairro Alto, to call my own.

Free of the pack it was off to a lunch of ham and mushrooms followed by a wonderful plate of grilled octopus. It is so nice to be by the water. After that it was back to the room to grab the map and camera, which resulted in a nap that lasted until just before sunset. No worries as I was up in time to investigate a bit of the city before dinner time, and more fantastic seafood. The next day I managed to make it up in time to wander around a bit before it got too hot. The heat alone would not be so bad but, when you add in the hills and the direct sun you understand the rationale for a siesta.

See also at http://www.flickr.com/photos/61117314@N00/1306273205/

The next morning I was off to the train station to grab my ticked to Salamanca, Spain. As I was still adjusting to the new ways of life I decided to not to wander too far from the station before my train departed in the afternoon. Luckily for me the train station is located on the Rio Tejo where there is a nice path by the beach and the opportunity to see some of the local color in the shops and restaurants.

I am now in Salamanca and learning my way around this fine city of golden filigree sandstone and scholars (the kids party hard at night). It is now late so I will say buenas noches until I can update you more on this lovely town.