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19km to...

Salamanca

Municipal hostel (18, donativo) Casa la Calera, follow the metal plates in the ground after crossing the bridge and climbing the hill into the old city. Those with 'A' point to the hostel. Kitchen. Excellent hostel run by permanent staff and volunteers. It usually opens at 16:00 however in off-peak times you may need to call a number on the door. If you arrive early you may be able to drop your backpack off between 12:00 and 13:00. Tel 652 921 185

Salamanca, with a population of 228,000 is the largest city and capital of the Province of Salamanca. The Camino passes right through the city centre, close to the most important sights. Following the Camino, past the Cathedral, on the left is Croissantaría Paris, which opens about 08:00 with coffee and freshly baked pastries. A little further on the right opposite Casa de la Concha is a Carrefour supermarket which opens 7 days. Then on the left La Tahona de la Abuela which does excellent empanadas (Galician pies with a variety of fillings, such as tuna and chorizo). At Plaza Mayor, in the street to the left under the arcade, Calle de Prior, you'll find Café Bambu, easy-to-miss entrance on the right down a flight of stairs, with an excellent selection of good-value tapas with every drink, including barbecued meats. Back on Plaza Mayor, on the left is the Tourist Office. Restaurante Chico, on Calle Zamora does good food including paella. Also along the Camino there are several banks and pharmacies and many other places to eat. Café / Bakery Granier, on the Camino after Plaza Mayor opens every day at 0730. Also on the Camino past Plaza Mayor is a pharmacy that opens every day of the year. Hotel Condal, on Plaza de Santa Eulalia two minutes walk from Plaza Mayor, has nice singles from 30€. Tel 923 218 400. Website www.hotelcondal.com There's a big Decathlon outdoor equipment shop about a 40 minute walk from the centre, or get bus 20 to Santa Marta from Gran Vía, getting off at Leclerc supermarket.

Salamanca has two cathedrals. The old one dates from the 12th century and is Romanesque in style, it's on the Camino on the right just after the turnoff for the municipal hostel. Just past that is the new cathedral, much bigger and Gothic. Further along the Camino on the left is the 15th century, Gothic, Casa de las Conchas, famous for the cockle shells adorning its façades. The beautiful Plaza Mayor is Baroque and was built in the 18th century. There's an interesting exhibition on the Civil War on the right where you leave the Camino to go to the municipal hostel. The University of Salamanca is the oldest in Spain and the city currently hosts about 20,000 students. The Colegio del Arzobispo Fonseca used to be know as the Irish College because it's where Irish priests were trained during the Penal Laws. There are many other sites to see and a detailed map is available from the Tourist Information Office.

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Copyright © Gerald Kelly 2020. All text and photos.