A few weeks ago, I went on a day trip with Be Madrid to the region of Castilla y León to visit Ávila and Salamanca. There is a poster of Ávila in one of the classrooms I work in and one of the teachers told me it was definitely worth a visit. I thought it was quite ambitious to fit both Ávila and Salamanca into one day, but the price was great and everything was organized, so my friend Martine and I jumped at the opportunity!
The Castilla y León region borders Madrid so we were able to comfortably travel to both cities by bus. Our first destination was Ávila: a beautiful medieval World Heritage City surrounded by a 2.5 km wall~the city’s symbol. Like many Spanish cities, Ávila was founded by the Romans and was an important defensive location as well as the birthplace of Santa Teresa de Jesús. Upon our arrival, we listened to a brief history of the city in Spanish before being set free to explore inside the city walls. Martine and I climbed to different levels of the wall/towers to capture the breathtaking views. Overall, there are 2,500 battlements, 100 towers, and 6 doors! Qué guay!
By late afternoon we reached Salamanca, another World Heritage City. One of the city’s main attractions is the University of Salamanca, the third oldest in Europe. It is said the “purest” Castellano (Spanish spoken in Spain) is spoken there, which explains the thousands of eager foreign students who arrive each year. Unfortunately, the university was closed by the time we arrived so we were only able to appreciate the heavily decorated entrance.
Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor:
Also famous in Salamanca is the Cathedral which is really a massive combination of the “Old” and “New” churches. The Old Cathedral dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries while the New Cathedral dates back to the 16th century. We made it to the top by sunset, and were able to capture some beautiful views. While Salamanca was welcoming and picturesque, we were only there a few hours which doesn’t give the city justice. I hope to go back sometime in the new year!
On our way home, we stopped for a few minutes outside of Ávila once more to get some pictures of the illuminated wall. We were all exhausted by the time we arrived back in Madrid, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable day!