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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Salamanca | Quaint Old University Town

Updated: Feb 20, 2021

We took our time with our drive from Madrid to Salamanca and didn’t rush out of the hotel in the morning, as well as made a couple stops on our way out of town. It was about an 2.5 hour drive to Salamanca so we didn’t arrive in Salamanca until almost 4 p.m. that afternoon. The first day we were there it was mostly just settling into our Airbnb and going for a short walk around the Old Town.

Awesome Airbnb Location

The location of our Airbnb - Apartmento en pleno centro historic de Salamanca - was fantastic! It was literally around the corner from the New & Old Salamanca Cathedral. It came in super handy too as we could come back to the place anytime we needed throughout the day - whether it be for the bathroom, lunch, or a break for the kids. It was great too because it included free parking and we basically parked the vehicle on the first day and didn’t use it again until we left because everything was within walking distance. It was also nice to be in a non-hotel setting. We have quickly realized that when traveling with kids it is super convenient to have an Airbnb/apartment setting vs. a hotel room.

After getting our bags inside, we headed to the little grocery store, literally just around the corner. We got some food for dinners, lunches and breakfasts and then went back to make our dinner, as the kids had been a little crabby from the drive.

The Airbnb within the Old Town was very cute, but our favourite parts of it were the little window above the kitchen sink and the double doors that opened over the sidewalk outside. We kept the doors open as often as we could as there was an accordion player just around the corner playing and it felt like we were eating at a quaint little French restaurant even though it was just our kitchen table. :-) We figured since we enjoyed so much of his music while we stayed there that we should at least tip him a few times during our stay. Our daughter liked the view from above of the sidewalk too and pop out to say ‘Hola’ to the people walking by below several times.

Lots of Activities Happening

When we arrived it looked like there was a graduation ceremony happening at Salamanca University, which is the oldest University in Europe. And later when we walked to Plaza Mayor, there were a variety of other celebrations happening - like a couple of weddings in the cathedrals and some stag and stagette parties around town. It seemed to be a very happening place, especially on a Saturday night.

Trip to Pharmacy

Our first night in Salamanca we stopped at the Pharmacy because our little boy had been suffering from constipation and I hadn’t been able to find any 100% prune or pear juice at the grocery stores. At first the pharmacy assistant thought I meant congested….so we had to do a little game of charades to clarify. After some broken English and going back and forth we figured it out and were off. However, it was nice that we were able to get him some medicine without having to go to a doctor and it wasn’t that expensive, only about 12 Euro.

Salamanca Marathon

The next morning we woke up and had some breakfast, but since we weren’t in a huge rush we gave Clara some extra playtime and I finished working on the laundry, while Alex and Connor went for a little walk to get coffee and pastry. When Clara and I ventured out to meet up with the boys, we came upon a road race. We stopped to cheer on the runners and admire what cool scenery they got to run through. As a runner, I would have loved to participate in a race that ran through the Old Town like that!

We visited a little bakery and got some cappuccinos and a waffle for our daughter and then set out to explore the town. On a Sunday morning, it was fun to see some of the people going to church in their Sunday clothes or just having a relaxing breakfast.

Salamanca University

We walked around Salamanca University and Clara and I went up to the towers of the Scala Coeli. It provided a good view of the city, but when we did the Cathedral towers later in the day I think they provided the exact same view. So probably not worth the admission price for both places. There was a beautiful little courtyard/building that had now been made into a public library - I love how they repurpose buildings in Europe.

Salamanca Cathedral

We went back to the Airbnb for lunch and then in the afternoon went to the towers of the Cathedral. This also provided us the opportunity to walk on the higher sections of the cathedral walls, which we had never done before, nor had we ever gotten an aerial view of a Cathedral before. While we were up in the towers, we ran into a friend from Austria that we had met at the Hofbrauhaus during Oktoberfest over 4 years ago. She came over to us and said “ I think I know you from Munich” and it helped jolt our memory as well! It was so crazy that we would run into her 4 years later in a different place in Europe. It is a small world in so many different ways!

After the towers we went to the New and Old Cathedral for a visit. I’ve been to various cathedrals around the world but I think this has stood out as the most unique. After paying admission (4.75 Euro) we received a complimentary audio guide and set out to explore the Cathedral. Alex gave Clara the audio guide and she actually was quite interested in listening to the ear piece. She ventured around to the various parts and found the right numbers to push to listen to the next section. It kept her very entertained which made for an enjoyable visit. The interesting part about the Cathedral is that it was original an older cathedral constructed in the 16th Century and then in the 17th Century the new Cathedral started construction. However, they kept the Old Cathedral in existence and built onto it; therefore, there are 2 different styles, but they both share the same bell tower. It was interesting how they connected together and you went from one to the other through just a little door on the side of the New Cathedral. All the little side chapels in the main cathedral as well were very ornate with art as well.

Salamanca Train Bus

Later in the afternoon, we rode on the tourist train/bus that provides a driving tour of the town’s attractions. However, we couldn’t outsmart Clara, she quickly commented, “Mommy, this isn’t a real train. It has wheels and is not on a train track.” The tour on the train bus was all in Spanish, but I would say that a majority of the non-locals we saw there were probably just Spaniards from other areas of Spain visiting. They did provide a little handout in English though so we could get an idea of the places we were passing by, but I was holding Connor who likes to grab paper, so I didn’t get to follow along that well. :-)

We walked to the river after the train bus ride to check out the ancient bridge and to head to a fun looking playground to play.

While Alex and Clara played, I took Connor on a short jog up and down the river and then met back up with them before heading back to our place for some dinner. That was one advantage of taking the bigger jogging stroller with us on the trip.

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