Following the fun and frolics of Porto, it was now time to start heading back eastwards in the direction we had come from. But we weren’t going home yet – there’s still plenty to be done.
We chose to stop in Salamanca for a couple of nights in order to break up the long journey back to the north of Spain. It was still a long journey though. Uphill from the coastal city of Porto to the border with Spain was a slog with a heavily laden car and caravan in tow. But at least the views from the rising roads were something of a cushion. Once we had passed back in to Spain though we didn’t even have that – we were met with a long barren plain of nothingness as we pressed on to our destination.
Our campsite in Salamanca was fortunately very pleasant and we had a lovely shady spot to pitch up in, after initially trying to pitch on what appeared to be a giant ant’s nest, and then whilst re-locating nearly flattening an entire hedge row in our attempts to manoeuvre the caravan in to an area which was clearly too tight.
As a town, Salamanca itself is a strange one. It is beautiful with some stunning buildings, many constructed of a sandstone not dissimilar to that which is so famously ubiquitous in Bath, and adorned with street names and other wording ornately stencilled onto the building walls. But it’s not big and there isn’t much to actually see or do. Its main pull was a magnificent plaza square which included a bizarre sculpture of an elephant balanced on his trunk as part of an exhibition celebrating 800 years of the city’s university. The square is skirted with plenty of tastefully presented cafes and restaurants to choose from. We were unfortunately a bit overwhelmed by the options at lunch time, not wanting anything too heavy in the heat of the day and juggling a screaming Evelyn, so subsequently ended up plumping for a basic and rather over-priced lunch which was unfortunately not of the standard promised by the surroundings.
It didn’t take us long to walk to the edge of town, where we crossed an old roman bridge to what seemed like a half finished park. Here we found an open access athletics track where for a short time I rekindled my youth and started a lap, while introducing Evelyn to the joys(!) of track reps!
As lovely a city as Salamanca was to look at, one short day was enough, and so we were back on the road pointing the nose of the car down more monotonous motorway through inland Spain towards the Rioja region.