I’ve recently come up with a bout of writer’s block and while writing can be tricky in some moments, list making never is.
In honor of my study abroad anniversary, I wanted to share with you, nine of my favorite experiences in Salamanca, Spain.
1. An unlikely pastime became one of my favorite Sunday afternoons. I could be found lounging by one of Salamanca’s public pools with the rest of my classmates. Specifically, Piscina de Aldehuela. If you ever go, don't forget to bring a bag of Ruffles de Jamón, arguably the best flavor made.
2. Two words: patatas bravas. One year ago today, I swore off potatoes in their entirety after eating so many. But these little guys wormed their way back into my heart. For a quick fix, I go to Bulla or El Carajo in the Miami area. Arguably, the best patatas bravas in Salamanca come from Hostel Erasmus, a few steps from school (check it out here!).
*pictured: patatas braves from La Maruca, in Madrid, but they are delicious absolutely anywhere.- Audrey Carballo
3. A friend of mine recommended this perfect summertime drink and I have never regretted this order. Claras are a refreshing drink to enjoy with some patatas bravas or a tapa of your choice! Definitely a craving that has stuck; pour yourself a Mahou Beer and top it off with some Fanta Límon (sadly not sold in the States but a Lemon Sunkist will do) and voila, you’re holding the taste of summer.
4. After a week of hard(…ly) studying, we visited Hacienda Zorita. This was my first ever wine tasting and the wine was absolutely spectacular. This hacienda holds the title of Best White Wine of 2012 for their Rueda Verdejo (and with a 6€ price tag, who could beat it?)
5. Half way down the list, but I'm full of love for this one: Huerto de Calixto y Melibea, home of the finest blossoms. I was in awe at this park. Meandering through the streets and finding hidden gems was one of my favorite parts of the afternoons following class, which brings me to my next point...
6. Unlike our other friends, my roommate, Audrey, and I did not siesta into the late evening. We would use our afternoons to explore Salamanca in its entirety and we came across this historic site. Hidden by the walls of the city, there seemed to be only one way in. We later found out it was the Cueva de Salamanca. It was eerie and we were almost reluctant to go in, but against our first impression, we ventured. To which, we found a terrace with the most breathtaking view of the city, three stories above.
7. A memory that tugs at the heartstrings the most -- every night, meeting under the clock of the Plaza Mayor. All fifteen of us from FIU would meet here, Audrey and I habitually late, and set off, into the night, hitting up the usual Irish Theatre, Camelot and Gatsby’s (bars most of the students in town go to). Depending on where the night took you, you could never miss a night out, especially when it came to Urban Night or Karaoke Wednesdays at the Irish Theatre.
Though the best nights, came from our favorite grunge bar, featured below.
8. A part of town we came across, the "Wynwood" of Salamanca, was explored by our group on one of our last days. Featuring eclectic restaurants and eccentric street art, Barrio del Oeste brings color into the baroque-style architecture. The vibrant walls illustrate a political, artistic or social conversation and archives the artist's musings.
9. In the afternoons, people watching, while enjoying a merienda and their favorite refreshment, was what you would find many Salamanca residents doing…along with Audrey and me. Usually we would go to a regular tapas place but on special occaisons we would end up at our favorite little corner of la Plaza Mayor. This one may ring up last on my list but definitely is a favorite: The Doctor. It may seem to be an overpriced bar, but in reality, it's a cocktail connoisseur’s dream. From presentation to taste, this place always got it right.
When I think of my times in Salamanca a year ago, this perfectly strung-together quote comes to mind:
“When you first arrive in a new city, nothing makes sense. Everything’s unknown, virgin... After you've lived here, walked these streets, you'll know them inside out. You'll know these people. Once you've lived here, crossed this street 10, 20, 1000 times... it'll belong to you because you've lived there. That was about to happen to me, but I didn't know it yet.” - Xavier in L'Auberge Espagnole
A year ago, I said so long to our small apartment on Avenida de los Comuneros and Rosario, our Spanish abuela. One year and the reminiscent conversations have not fallen flat and the love for Salamanca has not dulled.
* Pardon my IPHONE6 photos!