We’re in Spain!

Added 19 Jun 2015

Some say it was an earlier-than-yesterday start today. That’s true. We leave the quayside at Barca D’Alva at 8.30am. We have a drive of about 1 hour and 45 minutes to Salamanca. The scenery changes on route from olive and almond trees to grassy pastures for cattle and the surprise on route are numerous nests of storks on top of old bridge posts and electricity poles.

On arrival in Salamanca we enjoy a free morning and lunch time up to 2.15pm. We’re sticking to Portuguese local time so we have to be careful not to look at local clocks! Richard and Dawn have changed the normal lunch plan and instead we’re given an envelope (not brown!) with some euro cash so we can go off and find our own lunch. This gives flexibility and an opportunity to discover some local foods to your own taste. Quite a few guests enjoyed tapas, some chose paella, and there was a variety of other dishes too. Some chose pavement cafes on the Plaza Mayor and watched the world go by while other guests discovered quiet side street cafes.

Four local guides met us for this afternoon’s guided walk. We started in the main square and continued along the main street to see the university buildings, including a façade that contains a small frog in the stonework. Not easy to spot but with the guide’s help, we all managed to see it. Apparently if you are visiting for the first time and can spot the frog without being prompted, you will have good luck for the remainder of your life. Sadly we failed so we suppose we’re all doomed! We’d better book a few more holidays before it’s too late.
The walking tour concluded outside the new cathedral. There are two cathedrals side by side in Salamanca. An old one and a new one. Mind you, the new one was completed some time ago, following a building project that exceeded 200 years. Some stonework refurbishments were completed on the new cathedral quote recently and the stonemason added some modern motifs, including a spaceman!

Back on board AMAVIDA, we are treated to a BBQ dinner on the sun deck. The crew has worked tremendously hard to set up a full buffet and dining tables. The sun is shining. In fact it’s positively warm when we first arrive so the team hang large towels and sheets to protect us from the sun. It looks rather like a washing line but it is very effective. Once the sun goes down behind the hill, the towels are removed! Hilder, our ship board pianist entertains us and even manages to get most of us too dance. Remarkable what a few glasses of wine per person can achieve.

The sky is cloudless. There’s a crescent moon and we can see Jupiter and Venus clearly. The nearby bridge is illuminated and the lights reflect in the still water. Everyone seems very happy!