I am happy to report that our first independent adventure went very very well! The squad and I decided to visit the beautiful city of Salamanca, known for its beautiful architecture and giant University. Here are some of my favorite memories from our trip!
- My first hostel experience – despite their reputation for being super sketchy, my hostel experience was actually quite pleasant. The girls and I got a private 6 person room and enjoyed sleeping in bunk beds! It was tight but it was clean and quiet. What more could you expect for 20 euros a night!? If you are looking for a place to stay in Salamanca I highly recommend Erasmus Home!(Sleeping quarters were a bit tight but we felt like we were are sleep away camp!)
- The views – Salamanca had a very small town, European vibe. The architecture was breathtaking and there were many winding alleys. Each building seemed to be more beautiful than the next. The cathedral is in the heart of the city and is absolutely gorgeous! Added bonus: all of the buildings are lit up at night, giving the entire city a magical feel. (View down a side street!)(One view of the Cathedral!)
- The Plaza Mayor- Known as one of the most beautiful plaza mayors in Spain, the center of Salamanca is certainly a sight to be seen! The center is lined with restaurants and shops and while there are many people there during the day time, the plaza seems to come alive after the sun goes down. (This picture doesn’t do it justice!)
- The hidden symbols- both the cathedral and the university have hidden symbols. On the cathedral there is a hidden astronaut. Legend goes that the outside of the church was being repaired and one of the men repairing the building snuck in a nod to our modern times among the ancient symbols! At the university it’s a frog! It is said if you find the frog on the skull on the outside of the building you will have great success in school. You bet we found that frog!(The wall where the famous frog is hidden!)
- (A closeup of the astronaut!)
- The nightlife- Because Salamanca is home to one of the oldest and largest universities in Spain it is also home to some of the best nightlife! We partied with locals at many college bars! The bars remind me so much of the bars at Syracuse and made me miss Lucy’s just a tad. At around 3am we headed to a discoteca, but to our surprise found that it was empty! After talking with some other partiers we found out that the clubs don’t open until 4am and that people can usually be found partying until 8am (and I thought Madrid was crazy!) Sure enough, at 4:30am the lines to get into the clubs were insane. They were even more insane when we left at 5:30am (hey, we needed some beauty rest!)
- The Monastery – while the buildings and the nightlight were all amazing, my favorite part of Salamanca was the Convento de San Esteban (in Spain convent=monastery, confusing!) We were one of the only ones exploring this beautiful building. The large stone rooms were cold, and being their alone gave the entire building a mysterious and slightly eerie feeling. My favorite part was walking into the church. We got to see the altar from the choir balcony above. It was truly a spiritual experience. We were in this gigantic church, all alone and surrounded by soft chants that were coming from the speakers. I felt so totally at peace in that moment and so connected to Christ. It was truly a special place for me.
- (The view when I had my ‘moment’)
Meal of the day: Valor chocolate shop! We all stopped at Valor, the oldest chocolate shop in Salamanca, for churros. To be honest, I’m not a huge churro fan, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying some amazing chocolate with waffles!