We have two days to explore the city and prep before classes. They are a fantastic two days.
01.07.2015 - 01.07.2015
Monday night is rough for sleeping. Our room is hot and we have yet to acquire a fan. I woke up at 7 and groggily rolled downstairs for a breakfast of toast & orange juice. I sleep again until 11, and then my roommate Lauren and I decide to wander the city and find a fan, groceries, and toiletries.
As we explore streets around the plaza, a man in his mid-60s approaches us. He takes my hands, and in relatively slow Spanish, he tells me I am the most beautiful girl in Salamanca, and in the Spanish style, kisses both my cheeks. He then does the same to Lauren, and welcomes us to Salamanca. It was a little confusing at first but I walked away feeling touched by his kindness.
There are no Target-style stores here: everything is sold in shops strictly according to it's nature. We first meet up with four others, and wander in the safety of six. Then we find others out and about, who just bought Spanish flip phones, and increase our numbers to 10. We find fans and explore souvenir shops. I want to get Salamanca shot glasses for all of my friends, along with a Spain tag for my keychain and a large Spanish flag.
When the heat increases, we head back to our dorms for lunch. The good chef is now here, and he makes us delicious bean and pasta salads, and a Spanish-style lasagna. Full and happy, I head back for my nap- and sleep until 7 with the help of the dousing of water. After my nap I briefly research the other cities that we will travel to (I love love LOVE research and planning) and join the others for dinner. There's an incredible squash and cheese soup with bread, more bean salad, and more red peppers.
Tuesday night was our first night out in Salamanca. Originally the six of us who had wandered in search of fans earlier had planned to go together at 10, so as not to be a huge squad of Americans invading the plaza, but apparently everyone else decided to go out at 10 as well. We ended up in a group of 14. Along the way we find a small park with a perfect view of the Cathedral, lit up for the night, in the background, and pause to take several rounds of group pictures. At the Plaza Mayor, we revel and the lights and wonder what it's like for those who live in the walls of the Plaza.
We combine five small tables to accommodate us all, and order a full round of Sangria, and three potato plates to share. No one really wants to eat, but it's expected that you order food if you're sitting outside. The Sangria is good- not as good as the first night in Madrid- and strong. Our waiter is patient with us as we learn new pronunciations and attempt different ways of ordering. After we begin to order more- which I assume is more custom- he lightens up and soon becomes a prancing, upbeat highlight of our night. I'm wanting more to drink, so I order the cheapest drink on the menu- the House "Vermut del Dia". It's kind of a red wine and whiskey base, with floral notes and a flaming orange rinds. I try to take a picture of my drink on fire but miss it. A few minutes later our waiter returns with more orange rinds, of his own choice, to humor me and help me get the picture. I love my drink and pass it around for sampling- everyone either loves or hates it.
Around 12:30 no one is drunk, but we've all had just enough to have heavy legs and find everything funny. We walk back in two groups- the disadvantage to this is that we have to fight off people (read: men) trying to drag us into clubs. We still have more girls than guys, so our ratio makes us a target. We stop for more pictures of the Cathedral, and ponder buying bottles of wine and loaves of bread for an upcoming night, and finding a quiet park with a view of the Cathedral to enjoy our findings at.
A few of us, still wide awake from the rush of the day and jet lag, hung out in the basement until 2, and then slowly dispersed. I didn't fall asleep until after 4am, so Wednesday I slept until 11:30.
Wednesday is slow so far. After waking up, I showered and went to the convenience store just around the corner to get an iced tea- I think I'm going to be a frequent patron there for their 1 euro cold drinks. They asked if I was American, and said I was surprisingly kind and intelligent for an American. I was flattered but also saddened by the fact that because I asked how their days were and made small talk for a few minutes somehow set me apart from the rest of the travelers coming through.
Anyways, I took my iced tea to the basement lounge and set to work writing this blog, and today I've written all my entries. It's 3:30 as I write this now, and besides my trip to the store, we haven't left our residence. I think I'm going to nap, and then we had a meeting at 6, before exploring the university, before dinner, before maybe going out and maybe bed. More to come. Naptime. Time to douse myself and my bed in water.