Monday, June 8, 2009

Return to the Golden Glow of Salamanca

Salamanca is a special place for Suzanne and I - we traveled here some 12 years ago and it was by far one of our favorite cities. We have wonderful memories of sitting in outdoor cafes, drinking granizadas, people-watching, or simply admiring the golden glow that radiated from the spectacularly preserved sandstone buildings around us. I must admit we weren’t sure it would live up to the romantic image from our memories, but we needn’t have worried – Salamanca was everything we remembered and more. After only a few hours in the city, I found myself thinking aloud; “how come we didn’t just move here from the get-go?” It is a warm, vibrant, beautiful and quintessentially Spanish city that always has a lot going for it. There is an energy to Salamanca that is contagious, and we felt immediately at home. We were fortunate to have found a newly remodeled apartment only a few blocks from the Plaza Mayor, considered by many to be one of the finest plazas in Spain, if not in all of Europe. Built by Philip V (he seems to be behind many of our favorite sights), the plaza is the central gathering point for Salamancans. Every evening seemed to either begin or end there and it was a real treat to see it when the lights came on at night. One of our highlights during the first week was re-discovering Chez Victor, the site of one of our top 5 meals of all time. I was amazed to see Victor himself standing in the front with his wife – just as it was yesterday. I booked a surprise reservation for Suzanne and I the following day. We had a great time and even ordered the duck again which was just as good as before. The deserts did not live up to expectations, but overall it was just like old times and we finished off the meal with a nice Pedro Jimenez sherry. Victor claimed he remembered Suzanne, saying “I always remember the pretty ones!”.

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