Salamanca: An Exploration in Photos

Adrienne Prillaman is a student at University of North Texas and an an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures  blogger corresponding with a high school student leadership class in Keller, Texas. Adrienne is studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain on an ISA Fall 4 program.

Distant Views: The top and bottom left photos are shots of the city from very close to the river, and the bottom right is what lies southeast of the main part of Salamanca.

To reiterate the end of my last post, I really could not have chosen a better city to live in! Salamanca, although a rather small city in comparison to many cities I have visited, is filled with history and has so much to explore. When I first arrived, I was clueless as to how to navigate the city, but by the third week I could finally put away the map completely (well, almost). What my friends and I did, and what I advise others to do when moving to a new city where you can walk almost anywhere, is to just spend a day or so just walking without a plan. Have a map handy, but use it to navigate where you are, not where you are going. When my friends and I did this, we learned how to navigate the city much better, as well as see sights we otherwise might have missed! Below, I have created some photo collages to show the sights we explored in Salamanca:

Exploring Salamanca
El Río Tormes y El Puente Romano: Here, you can see the river that surrounds the southern part of the city, as well as the ancient and magnificent Roman bridge.
Adorable Spanish Children

I love people-watching while exploring. And when there are kids around, it makes it so much more fun to watch, because these adorable children are just being children. The funniest thing I’ve seen so far was when I was walking up the steep hill to my house (which I walk at least once a day, phew) and saw a dad chasing his son down the hill because the son was on a scooter, racing down the hill at the speed of lightning. It was very entertaining to say the least!

I also love that a lot of parents dress their children up in the latest fashion, while the moms are still styling high-heeled boots and dresses while pushing a stroller or tugging along a little one. But it’s not just parents who walk around with their kids – you can often see grandparents pushing a stroller around town with a baby asleep inside. Age doesn’t stop anybody from taking a long daily stroll, hills included. Maybe they are walking alone with a cane, maybe with the aid of a family member or friend, but here people don’t stop walking around just because of their age. It’s the doctor’s orders here for people to walk daily, no matter the age. And besides walking, there are exercise parks for those of all ages!

An Exercise Playground

The first time my friends and I walked to Parque de las Jesuitas close to our house, we thought this was a playground. Actually, all of these machines are exercise equipment! They all work off of your own body weight, so you can do the leg press, pull-ups, or elliptical no matter how strong you are. Many adults come here in between or after work, in clothes I consider too nice to work out in. But they don’t work out to sweat – just to get the body moving. Too bad these aren’t more common back home!

Finally, I’ll leave you with some beautiful photos of the main cathedral that I pass by nearly everyday – it reminds me how blessed I am to be having this experience and how much history is in this beautiful city I currently call home.

El Catedral Viejo: The Old Cathedral
El Catedral Nuevo: The New Cathedral

Until next time, adios!

42 thoughts

    1. Just my iPhone actually! It takes better pictures than my digital camera, haha! I use an app called Diptic to edit the photos like this, you can make lots of various collages and change the filters, etc.

      1. The pictures look amazing!! I thought you used olloclips or a professional camera. How is their fashion up there compared to fashion over here?

      2. People definitely are concerned more with the latest fashion trends here, you will never see people in sweats, they only wear work out clothes when actually working out. lots of black, lots of layers, lots of furs, scarves of all kinds, and EVERY woman wears boots…some with ridiculous heels! I don’t understand how these women wear these heels all day, especially here where the streets are made of stones and pretty uneven. it’s crazy.

  1. The pictures look magnificent! Looks like you’re surely enjoying! May I ask, how old is the cathedral because it looks old from the carvings and the architecture!? Hope everything’s going well! (:

    1. The old cathedral was built in the 12th century, and the “new” cathedral was built in the 16th century. They are actually built side by side, so it almost appears as one giant cathedral. Verrrrrry old!

  2. It looks AMAZING! Would it be a place you would want to visit again in the future ?The cathedral looks absolutly stunning! The weather looks very hot but relaxing :)

    1. Oh definitely, I LOVE Salamanca. Obviously if I were to visit again it would not be a long trip because I would want to spend more time in new places, but it’s a wonderful city. The weather was quite hot at first (well, not compared to Texas weather, but still, mid to high 80s, sometimes 90s!) but now its usually in the 40s everyday.

  3. That’s so cool how they have exercising playgrounds there. Do you exercise there on a daily basis since it’s close to your house and does it just make you want to work out since it looks fun? :D It seems like people there care about their health a lot.
    What motivates them to be healthy and to work out?

    1. I wish I went more, I am usually pretty busy with school, volunteering, and other activities. These are mostly for older people, younger people just run around the city or join a gym. People do care about their physical health a lot here (except for the fact most of them smoke like chimneys, haha). Doctors really recommend daily strolls, no matter if you are 9 or 90. They are a lot less people here using wheelchairs because they use walkers and canes until they absolutely have to use a wheelchair. I see adults in their 40s and 50s walking arm in arm with their elderly parents, and lots of grandparents take their grandchildren out walking too, or push the babies in strollers. I love it, and wish America were more like this!

  4. Thank you for the multitude of pictures! I love getting to see what you’ve encountered through pictures! :) Have you met any people that have told you about the places tourists don’t know about? Did you just walk to all the locations?

    1. Well, I let my intercambio partner (a Spanish language exchange partner) pick the places we usually go, but there’s not a lot of things that are for just locals. But there are nightclubs that are more frequented by Americans that locals will poke fun at you for, haha. Yeah I pretty much just walk everywhere, the city is really not that big. I can walk 30 seconds to a grocery store from my house, 6 or 7 minutes to the plaza mayor, and 7 minutes to school. Everything is so close!

  5. It’s so crazy how much you can see on a short walk! Is there anything especially exciting? How does it make you feel that you get to pass all this magnificent history on your “morning stroll?” Does it feel strange, like just knowing that there’s so much intricate architecture and beautiful cathedrals that you get to see everyday. I wish we had that here in Texas! It must be a very humbling and awe-filled experience. I would be speechless everyday!

    P.s those are really good photos, you ave a good iPhone :)

    1. It’s incredible! It was something you have to be careful not just get used to, you have to continue to appreciate it considering you won’t be there for a long time

  6. Aha ! I woul find the kid running away a fun sight as well! And I’m also glad you love the small town you picked because like you said the towns don’t let you experience the feel all that well! If you could pick one custome to bring back home what would that be?

    1. I really like the custom of people being more family oriented, and the elderly continue to go out on walks and stay active.

  7. SO beautiful! The children are so adorable!!!! Do you find that the clothing is a lot different in Salamanca than it is in America? What are some of the cultural events that you have attended (if any)? Can’t wait to see more AMAZING pictures!!!!

    1. People don’t wear sweats or tennis shoes unless they are working out, and women are constantly walking around in super high heels despite it being very difficult on the uneven ground.

  8. I love the pictures of all the old buildings and architecture, wish we had something like that in Fort Worth! What has been the biggest culture shock, if any, for you so far?

    1. I don’t really feel like anything has been a major culture SHOCK, but something I found kind of funny and very different was that at McDonald’s, they have beer at the soda machines!

  9. I loveeee all the pictures you took! I really thought you took them with a Canon not an iPhone lol! Did you bring an SLR camera along with you to take photos? And what are some places or events that you have heard about that you are planning to attend?

    1. No just my iPhone! Noche Vieja was one of the biggest things that happened recently in Salamanca, it’s essentially like a New Years celebration on a day specifically for university students, it was incredible, and it was in the plaza mayor, and had around 30,000 people!

  10. As you mentioned, the people there walk around excessively, they have exercise parks, but they still manage to wear high-end clothes some of which consisting in layers; so what must the weather be like? I would think walking around in fur and black with layers would be a nightmare.

    1. The weather got pretty cold in the middle of October, so you definitely need the layers to be outside, but it’s kind of annoying because then you have to take a bunch of things off once you walk into anywhere

  11. I can imagine how healthy people are over there in Spain with all the walking and even an exercize playground. Would you say that people there ae pretty healthy and fit?

    1. Mostly! The main exception is that a lot of them smoke and smoke A LOT. It’s interesting how they are concerned about keeping active, but not as much about smoking (and the overuse of oil in food, haha)

  12. So everyone there just walks around? Interesting! Kind of like New York City minus the pollution an angry people

  13. The pictures truly bring out the real
    Beauty of the cathedral, both new and old, and seems to be a very calm and serene place! I was wondering if you could compare it to any other landmark that you have seen or been to back home?

    1. Not really to anything in the U.S., but it did give me the sensation of the first time I visited Vienna Austria!

  14. Oh my goodness! That looks so beautiful!! The environment looks very friendly and not so gray. So bright and cheery, just looking at the pictures. How is it there? Is it getting to the “fall” weather? A bit chilly? Do you miss home? I’m pretty sure you’d love to stay there for a very long while! aha

    1. Yeah, in the winter it would be sooooo cold, but then all the buildings would be so warm, so it’s a lot of taking off and putting on layers. I definitely missed home, mostly American restaurants! I had Chipotle cravings constantly

  15. All of these pictures make me want to travel a lot, especially to Salamanca! Everything is so beautiful there, I hope I can some day get the chance to see something like it in person. I hope you are having the best time so far!

  16. I can’t imagine being in a foreign city and not using my map 24-7! I would be lost in no time, but I guess that’s a good way to find the best sights. When traveling around and seeing all of these new places, have you had the chance to stop and talk to people and learn about their culture?

    1. Oh I definitely kept my map on me all the time, but tried to learn really fast how to deal without it. Sometimes I could, but mostly I learned through school and my host family.

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