Saturday, 27 February 2016

Saturday 27 February–Salamanca, Valladolid fail, and a rapid replan to Palencia

Where’s Colin He’s in another Municipal Aire, this time in Palencia at N42°0.239’, W4°32.074’.

Our day started with the excitement of finding a garage selling diesel at 82.9c litre, which would be the cheapest of the trip if it wasn’t for the exchange rate having gone against us in the last few weeks. Our excitement turned out to be misplaced anyway; the next two garages we passed were marginally cheaper. No idea why, as all others passed today have been 92.9c or more.

Our day also started with a definite chill in the air as we drove the few kilometres into Salamanca, finding a very handy place to leave Colin just a few minutes’ walk from the centre. This photo was taken from the entrance to the (free) car park:

With the cathedral being such a prominent building in the city, towards it we headed, stopping on the way for a look at the public library – or more particularly the building which houses it, which is complete with a courtyard, with an upwards view to the top of the university building:

All was quiet as we arrived at the cathedral a few minutes later, where we didn’t have to queue to pay our €4.75 a head entrance fee (inclusive of audioguide). You actually get two cathedrals for the price of one, as the old cathedral wasn’t demolished to make way for the new, instead the new was built effectively as a large extension. Although the audioguide was a bit tedious and had unnecessary music before and after every item (probably only five seconds apiece, but that adds up to quite a lot when there are so many items), the cathedral landed in my top two of the trip (Burgos still holds top spot).

My photo of the cupula is woefully inadequate in illustrating its splendour:

As are my snaps of some of the many wall paintings in the old cathedral:

By the time we’d finished in the cloisters and were making our way back to the new cathedral it was obvious that we had (by accident, not design) got ahead of the rush. It was certainly busy both inside and out as we left.

The Plaza Mayor was our next stop, and it was a fine sight…

 …but it was also perishing, with the occasional flake of snow falling, so lunch seemed like a good next move.

This was likely our final Menu del Dia of the trip and it was rather a good one. It was only after we’d eaten that I looked the place up on Trip Advisor, thinking it would be well reviewed, based on our experience and the fact that it was packed with diners even before 2pm, yet it had a very mediocre rating of two and a half stars. We certainly had no complaints, particularly about portion sizes – the next photo shows just our starters:

€11 a head for three courses, including bread and a drink each

Two friends had said such good things about Salamanca that we should have felt enthused to see more after lunch, but we weren’t. That was, perhaps, down to the cold weather. If we should find ourselves in the area again when it’s about 20 degrees warmer, we will give it a second chance, but for today we had had enough.
Decision time: to stick to Plan A, which was to go to a campsite just outside Salamanca and take advantage of having mains electricity – or make tracks northwards to get ahead of ourselves. Taking the latter option, the SatNav was instructed to take us to Valladolid, which it duly did (via another blizzard). Alas, fate wasn’t on our side and after 2 nights spent coincidentally parked next to the same van (who we also saw in Salamanca), tonight there was no space either next to them or next to anyone else. In fact, the entire car park (which was truly massive) was full to the gunwales. A rapid re-plan was needed.

On reflection, we should have just aimed for Palencia to start with. There are two Aires here, and having found the first one to be completely empty we continued on to the one nearer to town, where we found loads of space (and loads of vans). As we’re now ahead of ourselves on our journey home, perhaps we’ll take a little lookette around the town in the morning.

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