In the summer of 2014 I had the opportunity to work for a Spanish cosmetics company that offered me training in their headquarters in Valladolid for 2 weeks. We went to Salamanca during the weekend. With this trip I fulfilled one of my dreams, to travel for work for the first time.
Facts about the city:
The city was briefly the capital of Spain under Phillip III between 1601 and 1606, before returning indefinitely to Madrid. The city then declined until the arrival of the railway in the 19th century, and with its industrialization into the 20th century.
Christopher Columbus died in 1506 in the city. The house of Columbus and the house where Cervantes wrote part of Don Quixote have been preserved.
I traveled to Valladolid on business, to have a training at the PostQuam Cosmetics headquarters in order to work later in Porto as a store manager. This has always been my dream, traveling at work with everything paid for. Me and two other girls were chosen – Vera and Diana – and we stayed there for two weeks.
It was very nice to stay for two weeks in a 3 star hotel, Park Hotel (now called Hotel Zentral Parque), with paid meals. They gave us a lot of money to go to eat wherever we wanted, and the truth is that we took advantage of that and we always ate in the best restaurants we could find. We got along very well and that also helped a lot to enjoy ourselves these weeks. The Hotel is located in Paseo del Hospital Militar, near the bus station.
Sometimes we would have lunch with Cesar from the company and we went to dinner once with Gonzalo, our boss, in a very nice restaurant. One other day we went to eat with him at a gourmet market near the station.
I think we walk all over town. The city is neither too big nor too pretty. We went several times to Plaza Mayor (where the Town Hall is) and the surrounding commercial streets. Plaza Mayor, presided over by a statue of Count Ansúrez from 1903, is located only a few blocks away from another famous plaza, the Plaza Zorrilla.
We went to Campo Grande, a large public park located in the heart of the city. A notable feature of the park is the abundant bird population.
We visited other nice places like the Valladolid Cathedral. The original design for this cathedral would have created a church which would have been the largest cathedral in Europe. Initially planned as the Cathedral for the capital city of Spain, ultimately, only 40-45% of the intended project was completed, due to lack of resources after the court moved towards Madrid, and the expenses caused by the difficult foundations of the temple, located in an area with a large gap in the field.
We went to several other churches, like San Benito el Real or Santa María La Antigua. In the last days of the training we left the call center and went to help to prepare the opening of new stores of our company through the city. One of the days I also worked in one of their stores.
Facts about the city:
Salamanca is one of the most important university cities in Spain. The frog, which appears on a skull and decorates the facade of the original building of the University, constitutes to one of the principal touristic attractions of the city and also has its own history. According to the legend, if a student doesn’t see it, he’ll fail in his studies.
Over the weekend we took advantage of the fact that we were not going to work and went to Salamanca, the golden city. It is so called because all the buildings are yellowish and with the sun they become golden.
We saw the Casa de las Conchas, that currently houses a public library. It was built from 1493 to 1517 by Rodrigo Arias de Maldonado, a knight of the Order of Santiago de Compostela and a professor in the University of Salamanca. Its most peculiar feature is the facade, decorated with more than 300 shells, symbol of the order of Santiago, as well as of the pilgrims performing the Way of St. James.
We visited the Plaza Mayor. It was built in the traditional Spanish baroque style and is a popular gathering area. It is lined by restaurants, ice cream parlors, tourist shops, and jewelry stores along its perimeter except in front of the city hall. It is considered the heart of Salamanca and is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful plazas in Spain.
We went to see the Convento de San Esteban and also the Old and New Cathedral of Salamanca. Cracks and broken windows are visible reminders of the devastating effects of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, still visible today. After the earthquake, repairs were necessary to the cupola and the base of the tower.
We didn’t spend much time in Salamanca, but it was a very fun and relaxing day and we managed to see everything.