I’m back with the holiday posts! I took a break there for a while to focus on a few pending restaurant reviews, but now I’m here to finish what I started. A warning before you continue – this post is pretty image heavy. We were particularly gluttonous on that faithful day, on both the food and drink side of things. We pretty much drank and ate anything we could lay our hands on. Buy hey, when in Rome (or Salamanca…)
I had brain logged (medical term) so many amazing tapas bars during my time living in the City of Gold that naturally we had to go back and sample some of Salamanca’s best food on offer.
Bars that I’m now going to share with all of you, because I know you’ll visit one day. It’s just one of those places. When I’m rich and famous, I promise to bring you all! That way, we can all die happy.
So on day 3, we headed back toward the cathedral so we could see it in all it’s beauty under sunlight. We were totally over seeing the gorgeous buildings under heavy grey clouds.
We touched the lucky rabbit, that can be found on the left of one of the main doors. As you can see, it’s totally worn from so many people touching it. Isn’t he cute? I’d say he’s more unlucky; and covered in various diseases.
This particular cathedral was constructed during the 12th century; in 1102 to be precise. So how, among the masses of intricate carvings created centuries ago is there an astronaut and a dragon with an ice cream?!
Fact alert: During renovations in 1992, builders included modern symbols alongside the ancient ones.
Despite our smiles and delight over sunny weather, Salamanca again had other plans; and a haze of clouds crept in around us again. We decided to venture up to the top of the cathedral the day after, as sun was forecasted for the entire day. (More on that in the next post…if you visit Salamanca, a visit to the top of the cathedral is a must)
So when it rains in Salamanca, what do you do? You go to one of its many bars of course! We took the street between the university and cathedral and stopped by the university bar. This bar is gorgeous. Almost cave like, it has strange little seats and literally all the different kinds of tapas you can think of. Everything from ham to various varieties of Spanish tortilla to baby eels and pig snouts.
We ordered a couple of tapas, beer and wine which came to €3. The food here is really good, and during term time there’s a great atmosphere as it’s packed with students stopping by for a quick bite between lectures.
It was still raining and we were still reminiscing, so we moved on to Calle Ventura Ruiz Aguilera, to stop by Restaurante El Zaguán. Calle Ventura Ruiz Aguilera is a quiet little street just off Calle Toro; Salamanca’s most popular street for shopping. Around here you’ll find H&M, Kiko, Bershka, Pull & Bear, and not one but two Zara stores. Calle Toro is quite central, and can be accessed from the northeast arch of the Plaza Mayor. El Zaguán is situated on the first available street off to the right, and serves the most delicious tapas a la plancha (grilled.)
El Zaguán is worth a visit for a great variety of tapas (Salads, mini hamburgers, black pudding, paella) their outdoor conservatory for dining a la carte and the giant bar top barrel of Vermouth, loved by the oldies.
I visit for their chorizo though. It’s the best in Salamanca. They marinate the chorizo in white wine, and the grill gives it an unbelievable smokey taste. My sister and Niall are also fans of their ribs (costilla), panceta (bacon) and lomo (pork tenderloin) from the grill but I’ll have to take their word for it.
A flower spotted on the terrace at El Zaguán.
We proceeded on with our food trail, deciding we’d take a little break from beer and savouries in favour of strong coffee and something sweet. We passed by Paniagua, a bar where we spent many a late night drinking litros in the street. A litro is as you probably guessed, a litre cup. Half is filled with any spirit you like, the other half with a mixer; all for €5. Dangerous stuff. This whole area is home to litro bars, and Bender bar (pictured above) is no different. While the Futurama paintings are very cool, there’s a reason we took to the streets to party. These litro bars are dingy and dirty! But for students, they’re a good option for a cheap night out.
Ah, Calle Libreros. This street is my absolute favourite in Salamanca. I think it looks like a postcard, no matter the season or weather. I used to sit here doing a few hours work over a coffee and croissant, and would regularly feel the need to pinch myself to make sure it wasn’t all a dream. Calle Libreros is also home to Valor, a very popular chocolatier. Valor cafes are situated all over Spain and serve excellent churros to accompany thick molten chocolate. The churros here are different; they’re thicker and heavier than most other kinds you’ll find. They’re also deep fried, so all in all, a total greasefest. If that sounds like a nightmare to you, they also do all kinds of desserts, milkshakes, smoothies and ice cream.
With no sign of the raining letting up, another bar for cocktails sounded like the best idea. Eramus Bar (probably my favourite bar in Salamanca) does excellent cocktails, the staff are friendly and welcoming (Alex in particular) and the surroundings and music are good. There are also several TVs and one large projector screen for sports. Erasmus offer a great Menu del Dia (menu of the day) which has improved greatly over the last year and the prices are always very reasonable for three large courses, starting from about €9.99 per person.
Piña coladas, margaritas, gin fizz, mojitos…and glow sticks! Eramus also have a menu with a huge selection of beers from around the world and they even serve Homer’s favourite, Duff beer.
We stayed all afternoon in Eramus, which seemed to go by in a flash. The rain finally cleared and the sky was blue again, so we seized the opportunity to watch the world go by at the Plaza Mayor.
We finished our night at the purrón bar, a bar where you drink wine, cider, beer (whatever you wish!) from a spouted pitcher. They were originally used solely for wine and cava and are a tradition of the Catalonian region. The shape of the glass keeps the wines contact with air at a minimum, and the spout meant that groups could share the pitcher by pouring a stream from a height without any hygiene issues. I’m awful at them though, and spill cider down my front each time like a dribbling baby.
We had one each, which we filled at the taps – cider for the ladies, beer for Niall. We ordered fresh baguettes stuffed generously with Iberian ham before walking home on the usual Plaza route, basking in the glow of what feels like a million lights.
A great third day, despite the weather.
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