Sunday, May 3, 2015

Not so sunny Salamanca

Statue in Salamanca, Spain

A week or so after returning from our trip to Spain, I am piecing together the tatters that was once my map of Salamanca. It rained steadily during our visit, but our memories aren't dampened. In fact, our short visit includes a tour of what becomes one of my all-time favorite museums.

I also score (for 1 euro) one of the most poetic city brochures I've come across from the city's tourist office. I had already downloaded it to my iPad, but having a hard copy feels like a small treasure.

Salamanca's cathedral

Salamanca (pop. 228,881) is a vibrant city with the youthful energy that comes along with being a college town. Founded in 1218, the University of Salamanca is said to be the third oldest university in Europe. It is located in northwest Spain, 120 miles west of Madrid and 50 miles east of Portugal.

Roman bridge in Salamanca, Spain

Plaza Mayor is the sprawling political and social center of Salamanca. The pictures I take in the rain show a seemingly deserted square, but do not show the crowded covered walkways along the sides. When we visit the plaza that evening to partake of tapas and wine, hundreds of people are enjoying the sport of people-watching and being seen.

Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, Spain

Ken good-naturedly agrees to visit La Casa Lis Museo Art Nouveau y Art Déco ... a welcome change from cathedral tours. I am a fan of Art Deco and a doll collector from way back, but I had no idea I would love this museum so much. The Modernist-style mansion houses thousands of porcelain, glass and bronze figurines as well as Art Nouveau furniture, fans, jewelry, toys and, of course dolls. Ken rests on a bench (not quite as swelled with emotion as I) while a look each doll squarely in the eyes and ooh and ahh over their various costumes and faces. I discover that eyebrows can offer a clue to a doll's manufacturer and that Kewpies and Googlies come in many sizes.

Casa Lis Museo Art Nouveau y Art Déco

Outside Casa Lis Museo Art Nouveau y Art Déco

Other highlights of Salamanca include its winding streets. a garden stroll and an amazing white chocolate soup with Oreros. Who could resist?

Heurto de Calixto y Melibea garden

Dessert soup: white chocolate and Oreos

Statue in Salamanca, Spain

Street vendor in Salamanca, Spain

Salamanca, Spain

La Casa de las Conchas, Salamanca, Spain

And you get free nachos when you order four pieces of sushi!

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