Sunday, August 28, 2016

Europe 2016 Trip Notes # 5

Departing Vila Real, with a little trepidation about having more car issues, we continued on our road trip - destination: Salamanca, Spain.

Our three hour drive to Salamanca was without incident.  

The area east of Porto was quite pretty. We drove through beautiful mountain passes and large patches of vineyards. Then, about an hour into our three-hour trip, the terrain dramatically changed to desert-like areas intermixed with  huge granite boulders - some piled on top of each other (how did that happen?) and a few trees scattered about.

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Crossing the border from Portugal to Spain was like stepping back into time. Old, run down commercial buildings originally set up to inspect truck contents still exist. There was a gas station. The typical, rundown motel and vehicle gate areas for the (Pre EU) border police were still in place..

There is a big difference driving in the two countries. Unlike Spain, Portugal installed emergency phones about every mile of highway. Thank goodness we did not need to use them. However, Jerry kept a mental note as he passed each phone. Besides the phones, there are toll stations in Portugal that (on the average) are about a mile or so apart. Our car comes from a device that automatically is read by cameras as we pass through the toll stations. Lots of "Ca-ching" driving on the Portuguese highways. 

We Finally Made It To Our Hotel

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Salamanca can be better described using pictures than words. This academic and religious center is absolutely amazing. 150,000 permanent residents and 40,000 students live in this town. Other than the tourists, all of the inhabitants could fit into the Coliseum and Dodger Stadium. 

There may be more churches, convents and other religious facilities per capita than any other location. 

The size of these structures are huge. It's difficult to grasp the magnitude of these structures until there there is a relationship.

Door Size Is Difficult To Judge Until...

There Is A Reference Point!

Narrow, winding alley ways in the older part of town gave us a good feeling of what it would be like to try and navigate in this town 500 years ago.

Stairs Leading From Lower Level Alley To A Small Plaza

While walking down one of the alleyways, we happened to look up and saw a row of "Star Of Davids" on top of a small store.

This Storefront Was Probably A Small Synagogue Years Ago

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At the edge of the older, historical part of town is one of the largest plazas around. It is a gathering place to eat, socialize, be entertained or to simply be a people watcher.

Plaza During Siesta Time

Walkway During Siesta Time

A Few Hours Later: Tapa Time

Snacks (Tapas) During Quiet Time

Late Afternoon Tapas

Tapa Entertainment

Post Tapas: Yum!

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"Art" can be anywhere - one just has to look!

 Salamanca Manhole

Another Salamanc Manhole

Large Spanish cities like Madrid, Barcelona and Bilbao have a lot to offer. However, Spain, like other countries, have small, unique towns that truly "Pop!" Salamanca is definitely one of those "special" places to visit.

Convent Next To Our Hotel

 Convent Walkway and Intricate Ceiling

 Convent Patio

Beautifully Designed Structure
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 Salamanca Cathedral 

Rather Large!

Beautifully Designed Building

 Cathedral Pipe Organ

 Cathedral Ceiling 

 Time For a Sermon

 Music Anyone?
Notice The Large Print. 

Old Rope: Used To Build Cathedral

Two to three days in Salamanca is perfect to take in the major sites. More time translates into "ABC" - Another Bloody Church!

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