Spain is a country with a long history and a wide variety of cultures, languages, and foods. While most people remember Spain as the country that sponsored Christopher Columbus to “sail to ocean blue in 1452”, there is SOOOO much more to it!
Spain is also one of the most Catholic countries in the world. Our trip to Salamanca this weekend to see one of the largest Cathedrals in all of Europe proved that.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, I’ll start from the beginning. And the beginning starts at 6:30 am Saturday, June 10, 2017. After a long school week, waking up at 6:30 wasn’t exactly ideal, but the excitement of getting to see another city in Spain drove us on. 2 metros, an hour of waiting, and some photos later we were on our way!!!
[Valle de Los Caidos – on the outskirts of Madrid]
Salamanca is a 2 hour drive north of Madrid through a series of fields, pastures, and small cities. Let me just say that Spain’s countryside has got to be one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Yes, Florida may have a few areas that a resemble this in the smallest sense, but never had I ever thought that I would see a combination of religious landmarks, small fortresses in ruin, or various shades of grass mixing together while contrasting the deep blue of the mountains behind them.
Before I knew it, we had reached the city of Salamanca! We got off the bus and the first this we saw was a group of men celebrating their friends Engagement- a bachelor party! Salamanca is apparently known for Bachelor(ette) Parties and New Year’s Celebrations, who knew!
We were then split into groups, and set off on our way to get our tour of the city. We saw the University of Salamanca – the oldest in Spain and one of the oldest in Europe (after Oxford, etc.), some of the buildings that existed during the Black Plague, Plaza de Mayor (there’s one in every city!!!) and so much more.
[Me in Plaza de Mayor – it looks very similar to the one in Madrid!!!]
After a relatively quick break for lunch, we re-grouped and went on the tour we’d all been waiting for….. the Cathedral. Now in actuality, this Cathedral is actually 2! One called the “old church” was deemed to small for the city of Salamanca, so they set off the build an additional wing called the “new church”. The old church is not as tall as the new church, but no one could say it isn’t as ornate.
[Outside the HUGE Cathedral I was about to climb}
We climbed to the very top of the Cathedral learning about it’s history, seeing the effects of a large earthquake in Portugal that shook the literal foundation of this city, and finding spectacular views. I swear we probably did close to 300 stairs that day – small, steep stairs too!
[The inside of the old church – the ornate decorations show their extreme dedication and reverence to the Catholic Church]
[Surprised I’m not passed out at this point! Me at the top of the Cathedral]
I am beyond amazed at the beauty of Europe and their ability to merge the past with the present. Now, I know the U.S. is significantly younger than the rest of the world basically, but we now have the technology to create beautiful works of art just like this that are also functional space of prayer, work, etc.
Thanks to UF and Nebrija for planning this awesome trip!!!
[Last photo, but here’s a spectacular view from the top!!!]