18 May, 2010 – To Salamanca

Today we are going to give Miss Nüvi another chance as we head for Salamanca.  The concierge said we could go by way of Madrid or Avila.  That was an easy choice and we headed for Avila first.  It was easy to find N403 and we were on our way. Salamanca has one of the oldest universities in the world, and was the center of education for many years.  However, when Ferdinand, and particularly Isabella chose to make the Moors and Jews convert, or leave Spain, it lost its intellectual lifeblood, and the university has never recovered.

We passed through a variety of landscapes from farmland, to groves of trees, to large fields of red and purple flowers, to the site of huge earthmoving projects, bigger than any development I’ve seen in the States.  We saw huge fields of mustard plants.  Perhaps Father Serra got the mustard seed he brought to California from here.  As we drove through the narrow streets of towns along the way, we noticed the interesting combinations of stone and brick in the buildings.

As we drove, Teresa read about Avila and Salamanca, the  squares, cathedrals, and other buildings.  Some were described as “plateresque”, which turns out to be highly ornamented in the manner of a silversmith, plata meaning silver in Spanish.

Avila city wall

We saw a deer crossing sign just like in the US, but more bull crossing signs, which are not that common in the US.  We came across a field covered with huge cylindrical bales of what might have been hay, wrapped in white plastic.  It looked like a giant marshmallow farm.  I expected to get a picture farther on, but that was it.

When we got to Avila we took the opportunity to drive up through the, by now familiar looking, narrow winding streets and around the city wall.   Then on to Salamanca.  We found the Parador and had a delicious lunch.

Three delicious cold soups at the Parador

It started with three samples of soup:  gazpacho, garlic soup, and carrot soup, all cold and delicious.  Our dessert was three varieties of ice cream, all delicious.  Good things come in threes?

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