With the weather decidedly on the blink, we decide to find a campsite with electricity etc. rather than rely on an Aire so we can visit the City of Salamanca. We’ve heard good things about this place. We find an ACSI site on the outskirts which is very easily located, directly off the Autovia. It’s called Camping Ruta de la Plata. It’s nothing sparkling but it’s adequate. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to pay more than the ACSI price of €17 per night. The facilities were a bit tired and the electric tripped several times so must have been very low ampage. Other than that, it did the job. Anyway, we settled ourselves in. It was nice to have the heating on and get something cooking in the slow cooker. It was feeling very chilly! I’m going to make a spicy rice dish tonight to warm us up. You’ll have to forgive me because I don’t remember the name of it but it’s yummy! Here’s what you need:-
Pork fillet cut into medallions.
Sliced Chorizo with the skin removed
A tin of chickpeas
A couple of cubed potatoes (1 per person)
Fresh tomatoes (cherry work best). I use a full box for 2 of us
Chopped Red and yellow peppers
A generous Teaspoon of freshly ground pink peppercorns (has to be pink)
A decent pinch of saffron
A few cloves of crushed garlic
2 Enchallon shallots
Chopped fresh chillies
One mug of cooked and rinsed basmati rice per two mouths
Finely chop the shallots and halve the tomatoes. Heat some olive oil in a wok or large frying pan and sweat them down with a good pinch of rocksalt. Add a slug of wine. Whatever colour is in your hand, it matters not. Add the zest and the juice of a lemon, 3 decent table spoons of tomato purée, the ground peppercorns, saffron, chopped chillies and the garlic. Reduce a little then stir in the pork. As soon as it starts to cook, add the chorizo. The potatoes I roast separately with a bit of salt and garlic and add them while still a wee bit firm. You can parboil them if you prefer. Anyway, whatever, add them in and also the chickpeas and olives. Stir everything through. The mixture should be quite saucy as it will need to cover the rice nearer the end. Add more wine if it needs loosening up as remember the potatoes will thicken it. The peppers should be grilled separately until slightly blackened but still have a crunch. Set them aside. Transfer the other ingredients into a casserole dish and cook in the oven for 20 minutes on a medium to high heat. Remove and gently stir in the rice and peppers. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Finish with chopped parsley and serve with crusty bread. Cooking times may vary depending on how many you’re cooking for. Enjoy!
The next morning, true to what the weather app had said, there was indeed a frost. It’s hard to believe when 2 days ago we had been basking in 27 degrees!! Just worth my Motorhoming friends bearing this in mind. Make sure you pack a few warm clothes. It is not cast in stone that you will get good weather and even in Portugal, the nights can be damn cold. Regardless, we got togged up and armed with our city map, ventured out for a bus. The stop was right outside the site entrance and the bus was bang on time. It takes about 15 minutes into town. The terminus is outside the Palais de Justice and you get back on at the same stop you get off for the return. Same direction. Very simple and cheap as chips.
As is our usual MO we headed straight for the market. The two storey covered halls are right at the side of the massive Plaza Mayor. The market is held daily. There’s a great little tapas bar within. It is the usual colourful, lively affair. I accidentally order wine with my breakfast. Oops 😬. Shame to waste it so I didn’t (you didn’t really think I would did you?!) There is, as always, some fabulous regional produce on offer. Check out the size of the fish filleting knife this guy is using so deftly. I’d lose a digit or two if I tried that.
Salamanca is described in the guidebooks as the most graceful City in Spain. I can see why. The golden sandstone buildings are so beautiful. The huge square Plaza Mayor is very elegant and the hub of the City. It houses endless restaurants, shops and cafes as well as the impressive balconied City Hall. Even on a dull drizzly day it looks good.
There are two Cathedrals here, both must be seen, one is Romanesque and the other Gothic. It’s all about the architecture in this town. There are so many museums, art galleries, elaborate churches and Renaissance palaces to see. You need at least 2 days and that’s without the shops!!). For me, the most impressive buildings are the two Universities. The smaller of the two, Universidad Pontificia is grand enough with its Baroque cloister and amazing towers but the Universidad de Salamanca is probably the most incredible building I’ve ever seen. I’m afraid my photographs can’t do this place justice. I really missed my proper camera today. You could spend hours just gazing at the magnificent facade, the elaborate detail takes your breath away. Try and spot the hidden frog which is said to bring good luck! Across the street from the University is the Casa de las Conchas or House of Shells, a 16th Century mansion, now the public library. The shells are a symbol of the pilgrimage to Santiago. For the best view of the City, walk down to the River Tormes and across the arched Puente Romano Bridge built in the first century AD. Look back when your almost over it. Wow!
ended up with s stiff neck from constantly gazing upwards! There are many great looking traditional places to eat. After a wine fuelled tapas brunch, however, we have a craving for Oriental food. We opt for an all you can eat Chinese buffet place just off the main Plaza. Don’t think the little man who happily waved us in quite appreciated just how much my husband can eat. I felt sorry for him!! We came out absolutely stuffed to bursting and wandered back for the bus.
Salamanca is most definitely one to see. Whilst I would be in no rush to return I would like to visit again on a warmer day when you could sit out in one of the numerous tree lined squares and take in the atmosphere.
Back at the campsite it’s time for apps and maps. The weather isn’t getting any better any time soon around Spain and so we decide to sack our plans to go to Caceres and hang a right into Portugal. That’s the beauty of Motorhoming. If you don’t like the view, just change it!!
And so we’re back on the road my friends. First stop is to refuel and top up on LPG. Diesel prices are a bit healthier at €1.26 a litre. In France we paid €1.67!!
I’ll be touch once we’re over yet another border chums. Sending love to everyone back home and to our travelling friends, keep an eye on the weather and stay safe. There’s snow on the Milau Bridge now extending right into the Loire. The nasty white stuff has certainly come early this year.
Have a nice day y’all xxx