We had headed further south than we had initially planned in order to visit Salamanca. We had intended to travel due east towards Barcelona, but now having dipped this far south, our plans are to continue to Madrid before swinging north again.
We arrived at Salamanca early so hopped on the local bus to the old city. Salamanca is a stunning place - there is no better word for it. We followed the walking tour suggested in the Lonely Planet guide which took us to all the important sights and generally all over the town. The Bishop's Palace looked interesting so we duly paid our €3 each - but all we saw was a moderately impressive chapel but not much else. But the €5 each for the Old Cathedral was well worth the money. It adjoined the New Cathedral (it is merely Renaissance) which in itself was pretty good. The older 15th century building was adorned with frescoes as fresh as the day they were painted and a beautiful altarpiece and included a museum amongst its chapels around the cloisters.
The streets of old Salamanca are all cobbled; the buildings are a soft yellow stone. Even the new buildings have been faced with what looks like a golden limestone or tiles of gentle tones so that old and new are in harmony. Every turn brings a new delight: a small square with a statue, a heavily carved facade or doorway, an enclosed cloister, a small museum with a dome painted with the zodiac 500 years ago. The carvings over the door to the university building are intricate and attracted the biggest crowds of tourists. Somewhere in all the carving is a small frog and everyone was trying to locate it.
The only thing left to do for the day was to get the right bus back. We caught the no 4 even though it seemed to leave earlier than our timetable. And that was our big mistake...it terminated about 3 kms from home! So after wearing out our feet all day, we had an even longer walk back.