Getting to Salamanca was easy because we are staying across the river from the Old City. This is a university town and I like to sleep at night, so we opted for a hotel away from all the fracas. And what a good decision it was!
To begin with, it was so nice to have a lot where you can park for free. And the accommodations were so clean and spacious – plush linens, a king-size bed, two sinks in the bathroom, and a fantastic view of the old city! Thank you, hotels.com! We were a little concerned about the prospect of breakfast, however, since we couldn’t fix our own and breakfast is often ignored in Spain. We opted out of buying breakfast at the hotel (coffee, tea, and a few rolls for about $20 each). We called room service and asked how much for just coffee and tea: $6 for the both of us. And it came with churros. (More on churros later when I have a chance to try the national drink: hot chocolate, which always comes with churros for dipping.)
It turns out that there is a feria, or festival, going on in Salamanca now. All throughout the Old City food booths sponsored by local restaurants are offering their signature tapas and beverages at a nominal cost. Normally we avoid crowds, but we were hungry, so we headed across the ancient Roman Bridge to get to the old city.
The food booths were everywhere, but most were closed as it was still siesta (yes, they still close most businesses from about 1:30 until 4:00). We explored the city a bit, found the center – the Plaza Mayor – and sat and had a snack while we watch the sound check for a concert setting up on a stage at one end of the plaza. After watching many of Ben’s sound checks, we were amused at this one. It took them forever to check the mics for each instrument, and when they were done with the individual checks and put them all together, there were several instruments you couldn’t hear.
We got bored with that and took off through the city again. This time most of the food booths were open and we enjoyed several. When we could hear the music start up again in Plaza Mayor, we went back. The music was great, after tweaking the monitors a bit! It was traditional Spanish music (everyone knew all the words) with a bit of Gypsy or flamenco influence – very strong on the fiddle and accordion, as well as acoustic Spanish guitar. People were clapping in the syncopated rhythm that is so characteristically Spanish, and many were dancing. We had a great time, and didn’t get back to the hotel until around 11:00 – the latest we’ve been out so far. Maybe we will adjust to the Spanish clock after all! Regardless, it was wonderful to go back over the river to a hotel where we had the quietest night’s sleep since we’ve been in Spain. zzz….