Travel Notes 09: Stumble

A series of daily entries on being abroad for sixty days.


Salamanca, Spain

Thirty thousand is the population of students in Salamanca, a lucky treat for them as it feels as if the entire centre of town is their campus. In the morning, small congregations of students wait outside the various buildings in the southern quarter of the city.

I walk over the old bridge Puerto Romano, crossing the river and looking back at the looming shape of Catedral d Salamanca rising above the town.

It is just as impressive on the inside, though I spot balconies and walkways looming high above the chapel that makes me wonder if there is a way to ascend to those vantage points.

It is a day of stumbling though open doors, walking through and discovering the curiosities inside that excites me.

I stumble across exhibitions of words weaved with wool, a mosaic mural on an observatory dome and the oil paintings by Ubierna that cast Salamanca in a beautiful lenses through the seasons.

But perhaps the highlight of my day belongs to finding an open gate a few adjacent alleys behind the cathedral leads me to a four storey tower that allows a view of the city that changes my perspective of it. It’s a historic site called the Cueva de Salamanca, and what’s lovely is that is perfectly empty as I take in the view from above.

As I walk outside, I bump into an English couple, and the affable man proceeds to tell me the history of the place. Legend has it that the land I had just set foot on was the place where 7 students sold their souls to Satan for better grades. Six were dragged to hell and the last was doomed to live out his days without a shadow. I haven’t checked the veracity of this tale, or if they even got better grades.

But that’s where I end with a double pun and say that the devil is in the details, and it is still a hell of a story.


Notes from Tuesday, 11 October, 2016