I’ve just returned and gotten settled from a very busy weekend of trips around Spain, and I’m so excited to share everything with you! Since I arrived in Spain two weeks ago, I’ve been staying around Madrid and exploring the city that I’m living in, but this weekend I finally had the opportunity to travel a bit, so I wanted to get to know some other parts of the country as well.
Starting on Friday, I took a day trip to Toledo with the other BC students in my program for an art class we’re all taking. I didn’t really know anything about Toledo beforehand, so I didn’t really have any prior expectations. However, after spending the day there, I think this has been my favorite city that I’ve seen so far.
Toledo was first part of the Roman Empire, then it was ruled by the Gothics, then the Moors, and ultimately the Christians after the Reconquista, so it has TONS of history, culture, and architecture from such a variety of sources. This was clear from the second we stepped off of the bus. I’ve never seen a city that looked anything like Toledo, and I was instantly amazed at how beautiful and well preserved the landscape and the infrastructure was.
With our class, we visited a mosque, a number of churches, including the Catedral de Toledo which is the first Cathedral in Spain, and many other sites and buildings. Below are some photos of the city.
Toledo completely surprised me and I hope to return again while I am studying here. The city was so quaint and traditional, and just peaceful to walk around. It was nice to take a break from the large city of Madrid to learn about and enjoy another part of Spain.
Later in the weekend, my friends and I took what we planned to be a day trip to Salamanca. After many things went wrong, this day trip turned out to be an overnight. Starting from the morning, we got to Salamanca by a 3 hour train around 11am, and my first impression was that the city was fairly similar to Toledo. Salamanca is a much smaller city northwest of Madrid, with lots of history and old architecture. We got breakfast and walked around a bit, but it really only takes 20-30 minutes to walk across the main part of the city.
In Salamanca, we visited both the New and Old Cathedrals, as well as the Universidad de Salamanca, which is the fourth oldest university in the world. We were able to climb a tower (as we did in Toledo) to see over the entire city, which was so amazing. Below are some pictures I took of the sites we saw in Salamanca.
Later in the evening after missing our train (the last train out of Salamanca), we ended up stuck in the city. There were no trains, busses, car services or rentals out of the city until the next day, so when I say we were stuck, there was absolutely no way for us to leave. At the time, this was a complete mess and seemed like the worst possible outcome. However, now that I’m back home and have slept some more, I’m glad we got to stay and experience the nightlife in Salamanca.
Before our trip, everyone was telling us that the nightlife is so unique and interesting, so it was cool to be able to see that. The one major difference I noticed from Toledo was that Salamanca had a much younger, faster-paced, college-town feel to it, so it makes sense why the night scene is so noteworthy. We found an American-style dive bar and ended up hanging out in the streets, which were packed with people (and apparently that happens every night). It was definitely very cool to see that side of the city and talk to other students who lived there as well.
EARLY morning came around and we finally made it on a train back to Madrid. Despite the unpreparedness and exhaustion after our unexpected overnight stay, we definitely had a new and fun experience outside of Madrid. I don’t think I need to spend any more time in Salamanca, but I’m glad that I saw all parts of it.
I will be posting videos from both of my trips (Toledo & Salamanca) once I get caught up on all of my work here. I also have some really exciting trips planned for the next few weekends, so look forward to more posts! That’s all for now, so I’ll update you next week 🙂
One thought on “Weekend in Spain – Toledo & Salamanca”
Thanks for all the news, Meg. Incredible pics. You are an adventurer. That’s so cool. We’ll try to follow your blog. Be safe and take care. T and M