On my second weekend trip I went south. Ten years ago we had taken the bus, another student and I, heading south and then hiking into the mountains. Being filled to the top with culture due to the Feria de los Libros, feeling a bit weak due to a slight cold, I skipped my offroading plans and the festival in Portugal too (remember the pic of the rehearsing band)? Instead I went to see if I'd find the same places again and the same hotel.
Salamanca is situated on a small hill in the middle of a vast plain. The region lives on agronomics (think jamon and Pata Negra), the city on the university and its students. The landscape is slightly rolling but you have absolutely no sense of climbing significantly, nonetheless after 70km you've reached 1200m above see level after starting next to Salamanca at 800m. As long as summer hasn't arrived yet it is relatively cold.
My first impression of a charming village I found ten years ago was that it seemed to be at war. Usually protesters want to stop industry and instead preserve nature - here it was the opposite:
Formerly the region thrived on creating clothing, a successful craftspeople economy, small factories too. However, as is the case with many low tech industries, they couldn't compete with asian concurrents and prices. From wealthy the region declined to poor within few decades. In creating a ski resort some of the people see an escape route from poverty, strongly opposing a nature park that was about to be established.
Learning and doing some homework was on my agenda. You may remember I wrote about feeling uneasy with my accommodation in Salamanca. When I saw a sign pointing to a "Zona Recreativa" I checked it out ...
... and soon opened my open air bureau
where I stayed for 6 hours, in the company of cows.
Even here, roughly 200km southeast of the previous weekend, I found similar rocks as in Portugal:
Another highlight was this artistic junk yard:
On the way back home a small but very straightroad - quite unusual in Europe: