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Salamanca
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The Oxford or Cambridge of Spain

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Plaza Mayor, Salamanca. Photo by author.

Salamanca is the home of one of Europe's oldest universities, and the city has the feel of other university towns, such as Oxford and Cambridge, Heidelburg or Freiburg.
 
The 18-th century Plaza Mayor is one of the most beautiful town squares in Spain.
 
Many of the city's buildings are made of a gold-color stone, that changes in color as the light changes, and gives the city a warm tone.  This is the showcase of Plateresque architecture, in which carved facades adorn the buildings.  There also are Mudejar features (Moorish influenced), such as the choir of the Church of Sancti Spiritus.
 
Among the highlights to visit are the various university buildings, the old and new cathedrals, the Casa de las Conchas (from the sea-shells built into the walls), and the Dominican Church-Convent of San Esteban.  The Convent de las Duenas has a beautiful and peaceful cloister.
 
The Roman bridge retains many of its original arches.  It proved to be stronger than the bridge build in the last century!  You can get great photos of the city from the bridge.
 
The best hotel is said to be the Gran Hotel.
 
I stayed at Rector, which is a little farther from the center, small, modest and pleasant.
 
The Florida bar makes the best dry martini in Spain, according to a colleague of mine who grew up in Salamanca.  How can I disagree?

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Convent of Santa Maria de los Duenos