Our fourth stop on our trip through Spain and Portugal, was that of Salamanca. To be honest, I didn’t know a lot of cities in Spain, and when I did some research, Salamanca seemed really cool. Also, the train routes were strange, and wouldn’t go straight west from Seville into Portugal. So, we had to go up north through Salamanca into Portugal instead. So, Salamanca it was!
With a rather unfortunate error of scheduling, (totally my fault), we were spending one night there, when we thought we were only spending the day and then hopping on an overnight train into Porto, Portugal. So, as we were riding to Salamanca, Aly quickly booked an Airbnb that was right near the train station.
This statue stood right outside the train station. It’s a pre-Holy Wars era representation. We saw others like it in Portugal as well. I loved it, from the unicorn horn on the horse’s armor, to the tiny dragon the knight is holding. So cool!
We walked the two or three blocks to our apartment. Our host was named Paloma, which means “dove” in Spanish, and she would later turn out to be just that! She was unfortunately out of town but her adorable mother met us and let us into the apartment. She gave Jess the rundown in Spanish and then we claimed bedrooms. Yes, I said BEDROOMS! With three of them, this was the most spacious apartment we had stayed in so far! Jess and I thought it only fair to let Aly pick her room first since she had been pretty much shafted on the bedding situation thus far. She naturally picked the largest room which Jess and I were totally fine with.
The two bedrooms we chose each had large and comfortable queen beds which was so nice. The third bedroom with a twin bed we dubbed the “creepy” room because it had some very intense artwork and questionable reading material on it’s bookshelves. So, we decided no one would be sleeping in said creepy room.
After unpacking and changing into warmer clothes, (it was about 30 degrees colder here than in Seville!), we ventured out into the historic quarter of Salamanca. It was getting dark already, so we decided to see the big stuff the following day, and just had fun wandering around the historic section of the city.
Salamanca itself is very old, and I was pretty bummed that one of the most iconic architectural spots, Plaza Mayor, was being set up for some sort of market or festival, so we couldn’t see it in it’s full glory. But we met some adorable high school girls from Scotland who were visiting on a school trip and thought our American accents were “So cool!”, which is funny because Scottish accents are way cooler.
We were getting tired and hungry, and decided to try and find a place to eat. After walking by a few restaurants, we found an authentic Italian restaurant on Google Maps, and all were in agreement that we should eat there.
It took a while to get our food, even though there was literally only two other people in the restaurant, but it was SO GOOD. It was definitely authentic Italian. We had the most amazing cheese gnocchi which we all shared, that were like soft little pillows of happiness. I hate way too much but felt so full and happy that night!
After dinner, we decided to get a good nights sleep since we would have a lot of walking the following day.
We slept in because we literally had until 1 AM to see everything in the city. Thankfully, Paloma, our AirBnB host, allowed us to stay in the apartment until we needed to leave for the train station around midnight. So, we would not need to bring all of our stuff with us. She really was a life saver!
Jess ran to a local market and got us some pastries for breakfast, and we walked back to the historic section of the city. It looked so different in the daytime! The first Thing we noticed was a huge dome with a spire, which belonged to the new Cathedral of Salamanca. I say new, because there are two, one old and one new, which are adjacent to one another. The old Cathedral was built in the 12th Century, and the new cathedral was built between the 16th and 17th Centuries.
The entire building of both of them is quite impressive, even from a few miles away.
We spent a great deal of time in the cathedral. They had these cool remotes that were in at least ten different languages, and when you walked up to a number that were various locations inside the cathedral you would press it on the remote and it would give you information. I learned a great deal more about the cathedral, and Salamanca itself from the remote than I would have just exploring.
Salamanca is known for beautiful silver ornate jewelry. I had to seriously control myself from buying all of it!
We walked around the city, and made it down to the river. By the time we walked back up into the city, we had walked quite a few miles. It rained on and off throughout the day, so we were pretty cold and miserable by the time we headed back to our AirBnb. Since we could hang out at the apartment until we needed to leave for the train, we decided to get some supplies at a supermarket to make spaghetti.
Once we got back to the apartment we decided to take a nap. We ended up sleeping from 5-7 PM which was pretty epic. We wanted to get as much sleep as we could because the overnight train we were going to be taking was only about 5 hours, and if you’ve never been on one, they are not super comfortable.
We made some delicious spaghetti and watched tv until we needed to pack up and head to the train station. Little did we know what adventure would be in store for us once we got on the train.
I had noticed earlier in the day that our tickets for the overnight train into Portugal said that Jess was in a separate car, but I didn’t actually think about it seriously until we showed up. We asked the guy at customer service, and he told us that the overnight trains were all segregated by sex. What? So weird right? So poor Jess was whisked away to another car when we boarded our train at 1 AM. Aly and I got into our car, there were already two other women sleeping in the bunk bed across from us. It was pretty disorienting trying to put my bags under the bed and get into bed in the dark, because the one girl seemed pretty annoyed when we turned on the lights. But somehow Aly managed to climb to the top bunk and I slipped in to the bottom one. I took a Xanax and thank goodness I did, because pretty much as soon as we got comfortable we both realized how HOT the train was. They seriously had the heat cranked so high on that train! And to make matters worse, it smelled HORRENDOUS. Heat tends to flare up my anxiety, so I was was so glad I had taken one of my pills. It also makes me tired so I was able to catch at least two hours of sleep. I found out once we had gotten to our stop in Portugal that Aly and Jess didn’t sleep a wink.
Thankfully though, we were able to start our adventures in Portugal!
To be continued!
The Raw Brunette