30 Oct 14 - Vega de Terron (Salamanca, Spain)

This morning we arrived in Salamanca, Spain. After an early breakfast we were off to explore this beautiful town. Salamanca is part of the Spanish region known as “Castilla y León” . Despite being a medium-size city (with around 170.000 inhabitants), Salamanca is famous in the world for its culture and for its student atmosphere. In fact, the University of Salamanca is said to be the third oldest university in Europe, founded in 1218.

Located in the western part of Spain, right besides the border with Portugal, Salamanca is in the inner part of the country, 200 kilometers west of Madrid. Tourism is probably the most outstanding industry of the city, thanks to its historical heritage and to the charm of the city itself, since Salamanca can be considered one of the most beautiful Spanish cities. 

It is also in Salamanca, where the purest Spanish, or "Castellano" is spoken, which makes the city a popular destination for students wanting to learn Spanish.

Salamanca has been declared a World Heritage City by Unesco, and in 2002, it
was chosen as the European City of Culture, together with Bruges in Belgium. Dance, music and art fill the streets of the city. The city's historic centre has important Romanesque, Gothic, Moorish, Renaissance and Baroque monuments. The Plaza Mayor, with its galleries and arcades, is particularly impressive.

Beginning with the Roman bridge that spans the Río Tormes south-west of the city, numerous witnesses to the 2,000-year history of ancient Salmantica still stand. Its monuments have an exemplary value: the Old Cathedral and San Marcos (12th century), the Salina and the Monterrey palaces (16th century), and above all the Plaza Mayor, the most sumptuous of the Baroque squares in Spain, begun in 1729.

After a tour of the main square we were off to visit the university and the amazing cathedral.

While in Spain it's customary to have a Tapas. Tapas are snacks, canapés or finger food that originated in Spain. Tapas come in many different forms and can vary from town to town. Tapas are served day in and day out in every bar and café in Spain. So much a part of the culture and social scene that the Spanish people invented the verb tapear which means to go and eat tapas.

I just walked into a bar and there they were all lined up under the glass counter. I chose a ham one and it came in a small dish with a kind of omelette .... was real good and most of all authentic.

Once my free time was over I went to the Avenida Palace hotel where a Flamenco performance was arranged for us.

Flamenco is a form of Spanish folk music and dance from the region of Andalusia in southern Spain. It includes singing, guitar playing, dancing and handclaps. First mentioned in literature in 1774, the genre grew out of Andalusian and Romani music and dance styles. Flamenco is often associated with the gitanos, Romani people of Spain and a number of famous flamenco artists are of this ethnicity. Flamenco was first recorded in the late 18th century but the genre underwent a dramatic development in the late 19th century. In recent years flamenco has become popular all over the world and is taught in many countries. 

After a full day we returned to the ship in time to get ready for dinner. During this time the cabin stewardess turns down the bed. I always travel with a small teddy-bear and every night I found it in a different position in the cabin .... I was always anxious to see where it would be every night, I thought that was cute that the stewardess bothered to do this every night and tonight he was tucked in my bed :o)