Salamanca Diary

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After a few weeks of holidaying and being unapologetically lazy, I’m back! I felt things were starting to get a little dusty around here. But where have you BEEN…?! I hear nobody ask.
Well, let me tell you! I went to Salamanca for a week at the start of July, and deliberately left my laptop at home. When I returned to Dublin I continued the habit of switching off right after work to enjoy time with friends and family. Like almost everyone I know, (with the exception of my awesome Nana) I stare at a screen for an enormous part of my day. And that’s just the way it is! So I feel I owe it to my eyes to slow down their impending transition into squaredom every once in a while. That’s where a holiday comes in.

Living in Salamanca for a year was a dream. I never wanted to leave, and think about it often. I haven’t been back since I left for any manner of means, so made a trip as my summer break this year. You might argue that I should discover new places, cultures, landmarks..and I will. But Salamanca is both a beautiful and incredibly pleasant place. I have a fervent desire for the city. It’s pretty darn tough to beat. My mantra for Salamanca – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

So I don’t sound biased or crazy, the only thing I would fix (if I had magical powers) is the fact that after you fly for two hours, you have to get a coach or train for another 2.5 hours from Madrid airport to Salamanca. The journey can be a little draining, but it’s worth it. I had cava at the airport to celebrate arriving safely, so it made the bus journey a little bit sweeter. I was also running on excitement to return to the city where some of the best memories of my life were made. (Cheese is allowed sometimes.)

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We (my sister, Niall and I) arrived on a scorching hot evening. Salamanca isn’t one of these ‘hottest between 11am – 3pm’ kind of places. Oh no. You’ll start to find things heat up around 5pm. We dumped our bags at our hotel and freshened up before heading to the square. Seeing the Plaza Mayor in all its grandeur never becomes tiresome. And I’ve seen it a lot. It’s such an incredible spot, day and night.

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We ordered some beers to quench our thirst and watched the second half of a World Cup match. Each bar has a TV on the terraces, high enough for all the terrace dwellers to see. I couldn’t tell you who was playing though, in case you quiz me. I was too busy people watching and loving being back!

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Beyond creepy Pork & Beans kid at La Casa de las Morcillas.

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Hungry from our travels, we walked mere metres from the square to one of our favourite spots in Salamanca, La Casa de las Morcillas. A bar/restaurant dedicated to the delicious black beauty – morcilla. Or to those who aren’t familiar with the term, Spanish black pudding.

When I’m in Salamanca, I’m reminded constantly at the difference in price compared to eating out in Dublin. It makes me want to shed a tear. I have no problem spending money on food and adore Dublin’s food scene (it’s where most of my income goes..) but a platter of various black puddings, bread and a bottle of red for €15? I mean, come on.
€5 each for a dinner where we were more than stuffed, with alcohol included. I dread to think how much this or something similar would cost me at the Motherland.

Fun fact. Living in Dublin city is on average, 53% more expensive than living in Salamanca.

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The platter is a combination of various types of morcilla from different places in Spain, and a sampling of chorizo. Some are more bready than others, some are slightly sweet and some are super spicy. Like my favourite, morcilla de Zamora. Zamora is a beautiful little city about 70km from Salamanca. It you ever plan on visiting, it’s as kick-ass as their morcilla.

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We chatted and reminisced about other great times in Salamanca, and my sister’s laugh amused us greatly. She has the craziest guffaw. I’m going to record it and sneak it up here one day, it would melt the stoniest of hearts! We also recounted the times we gorged on morcilla with various friends and family who visited us – La Casa de las Morcillas is always a hit.
Post wine and pudding, we decided to visit another favourite of ours – Cafe Corillo, to watch the USA vs Belgium match over a few cocktails. The streets of Salamanca were clattering with American accents, presumably with students either finishing their Erasmus, or  those settling in Salamanca early to get a head start and discover the city.

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Cafe Corrillo does a great margarita, so naturally I had to order one. They used to be decorated with plastic animals! So that was disappointing, but it was delicious. Maybe they stopped with the animals as children started ordering all the wrong things.

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The night brought a new favourite – a cocktail called 500 Zen. The main ingredient was ice tea. So refreshing! I had two of those.

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Before finishing with Corrillo’s version of a Manhattan with a twist of orange peel.

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We walked back to our hotel, the way Niall and I walked many times back to our cherished little apartment. It’s such a fairytale spot, night or day! It’s good to be back.

♥ ♥ ♥

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