Salamanca, Spain: This is how I spent my weekend in Spain’s lively university town:
I crashed a picture book wedding at Salamanca’s imposing Nueva Cathedral:
Went bar-hopping, sampling many kinds of delicious tapas throughout the night, and drinking agua mineral all the way. Met some interesting and not-so-interesting people, including a stag party of quasi English-speaking friends gathered in Salamanca in search of “affairs.” Their word, not mine. Tapas are a fine way to eat and drink and pass an evening.
Got entangled at 11pm in a giant orange web engulfing Plaza Mayor, orchestrated by Italian artist Donato Sartori, who has taken his “Urban Mask” concept all over the world. Last night was his debut in Spain in connection with Salamanca’s International Arts Festival.
Attended a post-Urban Mask concert in Plaza Mayor. A funky musical mix of country-western-electronica.
Witnessed my second — and final — bullfight in Iberia. I left about halfway through the program, as I just couldn’t take it any more. The renowned torero Juan del Alamo was the star of the show. It was a different experience observing a bullfight in Spain compared to Portugal. In Lisbon, the audience dressed smartly as if they were going to the theater; it had the airs of a society event, with much pomp and poise. Much of the fighting was done on horseback, and none of the bulls died in public view. It seemed, well, more civilized.
The Spanish version had as much sophistication as, say, a tractor pull in the United States. There was certainly a display of machismo bravery mostly on foot and without horses, but the bulls were fatally stabbed with a steel spear by the matador. The bulls were then given some kind of lethal injection after they went down, and in respect, the audience stood and waved white handkerchiefs. I don’t want to be judgmental, but no more bull for me, that’s for sure. Incidentally, the region I cycled through to Salamanca is prime bull-breeding territory.
It’s been a great weekend in Salamanca. I’m recharged. Now it’s time to hop back into the saddle bright and early on Monday morning and head to Spain’s Northern coast this week.