Camino de Madrid

Camino de Madrid
Camino de Madrid

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Day 23. April 1, 2017. Salamanca to Calazado de Valdunciel. 16 kms

Hither and Thither sat on a fence

Hither said, "We're here," but Thither went thence.

Along came Whither, he knew not whence,

For truth to tell, he was rather dense.

In a bit of a dither, he called to Thither,

"Go not hence, but please come hither."


 


In the morning I strolled around the streets of old Salamanca. It is so different from Santiago, a medieval town, where the narrow streets wander hither and thither, and it's almost impossible not to get lost. In Salamanca the wide streets run in neo-classical straight lines, even if they have to dodge pre-existing churches, for the city was planned in the 18th century.


I paid a quick visit to the cathedrals, for there are two of them. It was not a case of warring bishops, but a desire to replace something simple and elegant with something more grandiose, "to the greater glory of God", and then deciding to keep the old after all.


I paid my reduced pilgrim's rate to enter the cathedrals and found myself in what I thought was the nave of the Gothic cathedral, for it was so wide. But it was only the side aisle. The nave itself was enormous, and the cathedral must be among the very largest in the world. The older cathedral is Romanesque, and is missing a transept, which must have been demolished to make way for the Gothic version. Apparently, and fortunately, when they finished it, they decided not to demolish the rest of the older cathedral, and it is interesting to view them together and appreciate the contrast: one with its magnificent carvings and ornate statutary; the other with its faded murals telling Bible stories. You can guess which one I preferred.


I left at midday. It was only sixteen kilometres, out of town, along the highway, and across the fields, but one is fresh in the morning, not in the afternoon.


I am staying in a little 5€ albergue in Calzada de Valdunciel. It is basic, but warm and cozy, and Maria the hospitalero is a wealth of information.

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